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Evaluation of hepatic disease in mice following intradermal inoculation with Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis

Nathan C. Nieto PhD1, Janet E. Foley DVM, PhD2, N. James MacLachlan BVSc, PhD3, Tom Yuan BS4, and Sharon J. Spier DVM, PhD5
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  • 1 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 3 Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 4 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 5 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate clinical, microbiologic, and pathologic outcomes in mice after inoculation with 4 equine-origin Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis strains.

Animals—15 C3H/HeJ mice.

Procedures—In a preliminary study, the optimum route of inoculation was determined. In the main study, mice were allocated to 4 treatment groups (3 mice/group). One slow- or rapid-growing equine-origin C pseudotuberculosis strain was inoculated ID into the mice of each treatment group.

Results—All 4 strains had distinct tropism for the liver. Histologic lesions associated with rapid-growing strains included focally extensive unencapsulated areas of acute, massive coagulative necrosis of hepatocytes with intralesional colonies of bacteria and variable portal hepatitis characterized by accumulations of mononuclear and polymorphonuclear inflammatory cells. In contrast, the livers of mice inoculated with slow-growing strains had multiple discrete, randomly distributed foci of hepatocellular necrosis and neutrophilic hepatitis that were considerably less severe than the lesions in the mice inoculated with the rapid-growing strains. Significantly more bacterial colonies were recovered from the organs of mice inoculated with rapid-growing than with slow-growing strains of bacteria. Bacteria were isolated from the liver, spleen, lungs, and mesenteric lymph nodes of mice inoculated with rapid-growing strains and from the liver and lymph nodes of mice inoculated with slow-growing strains.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Study of host-bacteria interactions in hosts that are naturally infected with C pseudotuberculosis is difficult because of underlying genetic variability among animals, expense, and requirements for multiple replicates and control animals. The C3H/HeJ mice may provide a useful means for studying virulence mechanisms of C pseudotuberculosis.

Contributor Notes

Supported by the University of California, Davis, Center for Vectorborne Diseases and the T. S. Glide Foundation.

The authors thank Niki Drazenovich, Katie Fleer, and Elizabeth Holmes for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Foley.