Campylobacter spp. is a leading cause of foodborne illness globally. The pathogen colonises the gastrointestinal tract of the host, where small concentrations of neuroendocrine hormones are also secreted. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are neuroendocrine hormones involved in the stress response that have been shown to promote the expression of virulence factors in pathogens including E. coli, Salmonella spp., and Campylobacter spp. In our study Campylobacter jejuni strains from human infection and broiler farms that were supplemented with epinephrine and norepinephrine showed increased growth characterised by shorter lag phases and higher maximum OD595, and enhanced pathogenicity characterised by increased motility, attachment to and invasion of Caco-2 cells. The data obtained suggests that host stress may promote C. jejuni proliferation and pathogenicity.

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