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J Infect Dis. 2009 Dec 1;200(11):1703-13. doi: 10.1086/646608.

Salmonella infection of gallbladder epithelial cells drives local inflammation and injury in a model of acute typhoid fever.

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Michael Smith Laboratories, Division of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Life Sciences Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


The gallbladder is often colonized by Salmonella during typhoid fever, yet little is known about bacterial pathogenesis in this organ. With use of a mouse model of acute typhoid fever, we demonstrate that Salmonella infect gallbladder epithelial cells in vivo. Bacteria in the gallbladder showed a unique behavior as they replicated within gallbladder epithelial cells and remained confined to those cells without translocating to the mucosa. Infected gallbladders showed histopathological damage characterized by destruction of the epithelium and massive infiltration of neutrophils, accompanied by a local increase of proinflammatory cytokines. Damage was determined by the ability of Salmonella to invade gallbladder epithelial cells and was independent of high numbers of replication-competent, although invasion-deficient, bacteria in the lumen. Our results establish gallbladder epithelial cells as a novel niche for in vivo replication of Salmonella and reveal the involvement of these cells in the pathogenesis of Salmonella in the gallbladder during the course of acute typhoid fever.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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