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Crit Rev Microbiol. 2012 Feb;38(1):17-29. doi: 10.3109/1040841X.2011.615298. Epub 2011 Oct 13.

A tolerogenic mucosal immune response leads to persistent Campylobacter jejuni colonization in the chicken gut.

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Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium.


Campylobacter enteritis is the most reported zoonotic disease in many developed countries where it imposes a serious health burden. Campylobacter transmission to humans occurs primarily through the chicken vector. Chicks are regarded as a natural host for Campylobacter species and are colonized with C. jejuni in particular. But despite carrying a very high bacterial load in their gastrointestinal tract, these birds, in contrast to humans, do not develop pathological signs. It seems that in chickens C. jejuni principally harbors in the cecal mucosal crypts, where an inefficient inflammatory response fails to clear the bacterium from the gut. Recent intensive research resulted in an increased insight into the cross talk between C. jejuni and its avian host. This review discusses the chicken intestinal mucosal immune response upon C. jejuni entrance, leading to tolerance and persistent cecal colonization. It might in addition provide a solid base for further research regarding this topic aiming to fully understand the host-bacterium dynamics of C. jejuni in chicks and to develop effective control measures to clear this zoonotic pathogen from poultry lines.

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