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J Med Microbiol. 2010 Aug;59(Pt 8):898-903. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.019315-0. Epub 2010 May 13.

Purified chicken intestinal mucin attenuates Campylobacter jejuni pathogenicity in vitro.

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School of Medicine and Medical Science, Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.


Campylobacter jejuni is a major causative agent of diarrhoeal disease worldwide in the human population. In contrast, heavy colonization of poultry typically does not lead to disease and colonized chickens are a major source of Campylobacter infections in humans. Previously, we have shown that chicken (but not human) intestinal mucus inhibits C. jejuni internalization. In this study, we test the hypothesis that chicken mucin, the main component of mucus, is responsible for this inhibition of C. jejuni virulence. Purified chicken intestinal mucin attenuated C. jejuni binding and internalization into HCT-8 cells depending on the site of origin of the mucin (large intestine>small intestine>caecum). C. jejuni invasion of HCT-8 cells was preferentially inhibited compared to bacterial binding to cells. Exposure of the mucin to sodium metaperiodate recovered bacterial invasion levels, suggesting a glycan-mediated effect. However, fucosidase or sialidase pre-treatment of mucin failed to abrogate the inhibition of C. jejuni pathogenicity. In conclusion, differences in the composition of chicken and human intestinal mucin may contribute to the differential outcome of Campylobacter infection of these hosts.

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