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Cell Microbiol. 2003 Sep;5(9):593-600.

Dynamics of bacterial growth and distribution within the liver during Salmonella infection.

Author information

Bacterial Infection Group, Centre for Veterinary Science, Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ES, UK.

Erratum in

  • Cell Microbiol. 2003 Dec;5(12):985.


Salmonella enterica causes severe systemic diseases in humans and animals and grows intracellularly within discrete tissue foci that become pathological lesions. Because of its lifestyle Salmonella is a superb model for studying the in vivo dynamics of bacterial distribution. Using multicolour fluorescence microscopy in the mouse typhoid model we have studied the interaction between different bacterial populations in the same host as well as the dynamic evolution of foci of infection in relation to bacterial growth and localization. We showed that the growth of Salmonella in the liver results in the spread of the microorganisms to new foci of infection rather than simply in the expansion of the initial ones. These foci were associated with independently segregating bacterial populations and with low numbers of bacteria in each infected phagocyte. Using fast-growing and slow-growing bacteria we also showed that the increase in the number of infected phagocytes parallels the net rate of bacterial growth of the microorganisms in the tissues. These findings suggest a novel mechanism underlying growth of salmonellae in vivo with important consequences for understanding mechanisms of resistance and immunity.

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