Infant mice 8 days of age were infected orally with virulent, motile, classical or El Tor strains of Vibrio cholerae and with nonmotile mutants of low virulence derived from the same strains. At intervals of 8 and 12 h postinfection, frozen thin sections of the ileum were prepared, stained with fluorescein isothiocyanate labeled rabbit anti vibrio antibody, and examined with the fluorescence microscope. The motile organisms were present in large numbers, especially at 12 hr, and had penetrated the intervillous spaces and crypts of Lieberkuhn more completely than nonmotile vibrios. Dilution counts were made on various regions of the intestines of infant mice challenged orally 12 h previously with either motile or nonmotile strains of V. cholerae. Greater numbers of organisms were found, especially in the upper intestinal regions, when motile organisms were used. Low numbers of vibrios, limited mostly to the lumen, were seen in the ileum of infant mice infected with motile organisms when the infants were the offspring of mothers that had been immunized with crude flagellar vaccine or a vesicular preparation derived from the vibrio cell surface. The distribution of vibrios in this case was similar to that found in infected infants of unvaccinated mothers challenged with nonmotile organisms. Motility appears to enable the bacteria to better populate the upper regions of the intestinal tract and to avoid the washing effects of secretions and peristalsis. Antibacterial immunity may function, at least in part, by making it impossible for motile vibrios to accomplish this widespread distribution within the ileum.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases