Infection of porcine colon explants with "Brachyspira hampsonii" leads to increased epithelial necrosis and catarrhal exudate

Matheus O. Costa, Champika Fernando, Roman Nosach, John C.S. Harding, Janet E. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Mucohemorrhagic diarrhea in pigs caused by Brachyspira spp. has a global distribution, and an economic impact on affected farms due to poor performance of animals. Demonstrations that "Brachyspira hampsonii" is pathogenic have been achieved using in vivo animal models, but a critical knowledge gap exists regarding the pathogenic mechanisms employed by Brachyspira. Here, we used in vitro organ culture of porcine colon to investigate interactions between "B. hampsonii" and explants during the first 12 h of contact. Explants were either inoculated with "B. hampsonii" or sterile culture broth. Responses to infection were evaluated by optical microscopy and quantitative PCR. Significantly greater numbers of necrotic crypt cells and thicker catarrhal exudate were observed on infected explants compared to controls. Spirochaetes were observed in the mucus layer, in contact with necrotic exfoliated cells, in crypts and the lamina propria. Statistical differences were observed in mRNA levels between inoculated and control explants for IL-1α, TNF-α and ZO-1 using a Bayesian analysis, but not observed using the ΔΔCq method. These results provide a demonstration of a porcine colon explant model for investigating interactions of Brachyspira with its host and show that initial effects on the host are observed within the first 12 h of contact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPathogens and Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA 2013R054R to JEH and JCSH).

Publisher Copyright:
© FEMS 2017. All rights reserved.


  • Brachyspira
  • IVOC
  • Mucohemorrhagic colitis
  • Organ explant
  • Swine


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