Submitted to: Biofilms
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/22/2003
Publication Date: 11/1/2003
Citation: Huff, G.R., Huff, W.E., Johnson, M.G., Nannapeneni, R., Rath, N.C., Balog, J.M. 2003. Biofilm involvement in chronic listeria monocytogenes infection in a turkey model of stress induced arthritis and osteomyelitis [abstract]. Biofilms. p. 150. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Turkey osteomyelitis complex (TOC) is a stress related disease of processing age turkeys in which opportunistic bacteria produce abscesses, synovitis, arthritis, and osteomyelitis in otherwise normal-appearing carcasses. In an experimental disease challenge of 220 male turkey poults, birds were immunosuppressed with dexamethasone (DEX) at five weeks of age followed by either respiratory or oral inoculation with either V7 (serotype ½ a) or Scott A (serotype 4b) of Listeria monocytogenes (Lm). At one week post infection (PI), six birds/group were bled and necropsied. At two weeks PI all remaining birds were necropsied. Both respiratory and TOC lesions were scored and these as well as the left knee of every bird were cultured for Lm using transport swabs. All culture negative swabs from the left knee were stored at 4 degrees cellcius for 2 months after which they were cultured in 1 ml of PBS-trypsin for 24 h followed by the addition of 1ml 2X Listeria enrichment medium. These tubes were incubated at 30 degrees cellcius for 3 weeks, then at 4 degrees cellcius for 6 more weeks. All tubes were scored blind to treatment by two individuals for the extent of biofilm formation using a stereo microscope after 3 and 9 weeks of incubation. The biofilm coating the tubes was stained using both direct and indirect fluorescence microscopy specific for Lm as well as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus. There were no differences in morbidity or mortality due to Lm challenge; however the relative weight of a major immunological organ, the bursa of Fabricius, was lower (P=0.007) in all birds challenged with Lm. The percent of Lm positive blood cultures at 1 week PI was significantly higher only in DEX-treated birds receiving a respiratory challenge with Lm Scott A when compared with the unchallenged control. At 1 week PI, Lm was isolated from the knees of only those birds challenged with both DEX and Lm Scott A. A thick yellow biofilm was clearly visible without magnification at the 1 mL interface of some tubes after the 30 degrees cellcius incubation. Mean biofilm scores from culture-negative knee joints were significantly increased in all challenged groups as compared to negative controls, however, the presence of a characteristic yellow pigmented biofilm was significantly increased by DEX immunosuppression, respiratory challenge, and the Scott A strain. Biofilms were positive for Lm using fluorescence antibody microscopy. These results suggest that culture-negative joint infections of turkeys may be a contributing factor/source of Lm contamination in processing plants.