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Pediatr Res. 2005 Jul;58(1):153-8. Epub 2005 Mar 17.

Monitoring age-related susceptibility of young mice to oral Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection using an in vivo murine model.

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1
Division of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. smburns@stanford.edu

Abstract

Neonates and young children are acutely susceptible to infections by gastrointestinal bacterial pathogens, such as Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. typhimurium). To reveal age-related differences in susceptibility to this pathogen, we used in vivo bioluminescence imaging (BLI) to monitor the progression of infection in neonatal (1-wk-old), suckling (2-wk-old), juvenile (4-wk-old), and adult (6-wk-old) BALB/c mice. Mice were orally infected with various doses of a bioluminescent-labeled wild-type or mutant S. typhimurium strain, and progression of infection was monitored by BLI for 2 wks. We found that neonatal and suckling mice were more susceptible to the wild-type strain at inoculum sizes 4 and 2 log(10)'s lower for neonatal and suckling mice, respectively, than those for adult mice. At the lower inocula, newborn mice showed disseminated systemic infection as indicated by the pattern of photon emission assessed by BLI, whereas no bioluminescent signals were detectable in adult mice. In addition, an orgA(-) mutant strain of S. typhimurium with reduced virulence in adult mice produced systemic infection in newborn, suckling, and juvenile mice. Furthermore, as low as 3 log(10) CFU could be detected by BLI in tissue. The present study demonstrates that susceptibility to S. typhimurium infection decreases with age. Also, we established that BLI can be used to monitor the progression of infection in mice. Thus, this model of age-related susceptibility to S. typhimurium using BLI can be used to advance our understanding of the mechanisms involved in newborn susceptibility to infection.

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