Microbiology (Reading, England)

Campylobacter jejuni 81-176 forms distinct microcolonies on in vitro-infected human small intestinal tissue prior to biofilm formation.

PMID 20616103


Human small and large intestinal tissue was used to study the interaction of Campylobacter jejuni with its target tissue. The strain used for the study was 81-176 (+pVir). Tissue was processed for scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and by immunohistochemistry for light microscopy. Organisms adhered to the apical surface of ileal tissues at all time points in large numbers, in areas where mucus was present and in distinct groups. Microcolony formation was evident at 1-2 h, with bacteria adhering to mucus on the tissue surface and to each other by flagellar interaction. At later time points (3-4 h), biofilm formation on ileal tissue was evident. Flagellar mutants did not form microcolonies or biofilms in tissue. Few organisms were observed in colonic tissue, with organisms present but not as abundant as in the ileal tissue. This study shows that C. jejuni 81-176 can form microcolonies and biofilms on human intestinal tissue and that this may be an essential step in its ability to cause diarrhoea in man.