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J Bacteriol Virol. 2013 Dec;43(4):262-269. English. Original Article.
Hong SH , Jeong K , Park MJ , Lee YS , Nu TM , Kim SY , Rhee JH , Lee SE .
Clinical Vaccine R&D Center, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea.
Department of Pharmacology and Dental Therapeutics, School of Dentistry, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea.
Department of Microbiology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea.

Vibrio vulnificus causes primary septicemia as a result of the consumption of contaminated seafood. The intestinal epithelial layer is the first host barrier encountered by V. vulnificus upon oral intake; however, epithelial translocation (invasion) of V. vulnificus has not been extensively studied. In this study, we investigated in vivo translocation of V. vulnificus using clinical (CMCP6) and environmental isolates (96-11-17M). And we analyzed physiological changes of intestinal epithelium concurrent with bacterial translocation by using polarized HCA-7 transwell culture system. The efficiency of epithelial translocation of 97-11-17M strains was significantly lower than that of pathogenic clinical isolate CMCP6 in a murine ligated ileal loop model. In an oral infection model, the survival rate was reciprocally related with efficacy of in vivo epithelial translocation. These results indicate that efficient translocation of V. vulnificus through intestinal epithelium is highly correlated with successful oral infection. We determined translocation of the bacteria from upper to lower chamber, changes of transepithelial electric resistance (TER) and cytotoxicity of the polarized HCA-7 cells to understand general features of V. vulnificus invasion. Bacterial translocation was accompanied by big decrease of TER (about 90%) and about 50% cytotoxicity of the epithelial cells. Taken together, these results indicate that V. vulnificus actively translocates the epithelium by destruction of epithelium and the efficiency of intestinal invasion by V. vulnificus is critical for successful oral infection. From this result, it is suggested that integrity of intestinal barrier is an important factor for susceptibility to oral infection of V. vulnificus.

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