Although Campylobacter jejuni and related thermophilic organisms are more common human pathogens than are Campylobacter fetus, most bloodstream or systemic isolates are C. fetus. To understand the pathophysiology related to this observation, the authors studied susceptibility to the bactericidal activity of normal human serum of Campylobacter coli, C. jejuni, and C. fetus isolates from feces and blood. In standardized assays, 10 of 15 C. jejuni and related isolates showed 90% kill (mean, 90.6% ± 5.9); under more stringent conditions, the relatively resistant strains were completely killed. In contrast, all C. fetus strains were highly serum resistant under both standard and stringent conditions. Killing of C. jejuni was ablated by heating serum to 56 C but restored by addition of complement. Both classical and alternative complement pathways may contribute to killing, and adsorption studies demonstrated antibody dependence. Serum resistance may permit systemic infection by C. fetus, whereas complement- and antibody-mediated serum sensitivity of C. jejuni may account for the relative infrequency of systemic invasion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Infectious Diseases