Effects of Lawsonia intracellularis infection in the proliferation of different mammalian cell lines

Talita Pilar Resende, Carlos Eduardo Real Pereira, Amanda Gabrielle de Souza Daniel, Erika Vasquez, Milena Saqui-Salces, Fabio A. Vannucci, Connie Jane Gebhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Lawsonia intracellularis is an obligate intracellular bacterium that causes proliferative enteropathy in various animal species. While cellular proliferation of intestinal cells is recognized as the hallmark of L. intracellularis infection in vivo, it has not been demonstrated in in vitro models. In order to assay the effect of L. intracellularis, various cell lines were infected with pathogenic and non-pathogenic passages of the bacterium. Because of the high proliferative rate of these cell lines, serum deprivation, which is known to reduce proliferation, was applied to each of the cell lines to allow the observation of proliferation induced by L. intracellularis. Using antibodies for Ki-67 and L. intracellularis in dual immunofluorescence staining, we observed that L. intracellularis was more frequently observed in proliferating cells. Based on wound closure assays and on the amount of eukaryotic DNA content measured over time, we found no indication that cell lines infected with L. intracellularis increased proliferation and migration when compared to non-infected cells (p > 0.05). Cell arrest due to decreased serum in the culture media was cell-line dependent. Taken together, our findings provide data to support and expand previous subjective observations of the absence of in vitro proliferation caused by L. intracellularis in cell cultures and confirm that cell lines infected by L. intracellularis fail to serve as adequate models for understanding the cellular changes observed in proliferative enteropathy-affected intestines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-164
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclose receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: TPR was supported by the Brazilian government sponsoring agency Coordenadoria de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Ileitis
  • Intracellular bacteria
  • Lawsonia intracellularis
  • Pathogenesis
  • Proliferation
  • Proliferative enteropathy


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