This laboratory has previously reported a murine model of infection in which mice fed a defined diet, Teklad 85420 (TD), developed caecal lesions more consistently than mice fed a conventional rodent chow (CRC). The objectives of the current studies were to characterise and compare the time of onset of lesions, the morphological nature and severity of lesions and the extent of colonisation by in mice fed the two diets. In the first of two experiments, 50 C3H/HeJ and 50 C3H/HeOuJ mice were fed either TD or CRC and then half of each group was infected with Mice (n = 5) from each group were killed and examined on days, 1, 2, 4, 9 or 17 after infection. Each mouse was examined grossly and microscopically and assigned lesion scores based on lesion severity. The second experiment was designed in an identical way to the first, but had slightly smaller group sizes (n = 20). Mice (n = 4) were killed for necropsy at the same five time points after infection and their caeca were homogenised and examined by quantitative bacteriology with media selective for There were no differences in any finding due to mouse strain. Group lesion scores over the entire experimental period were significantly higher in mice fed TD (mean total lesion index = 13) than in mice fed CRC (mean total lesion index = 8.8). Lesions were also temporally distributed in a significantly different manner in that they appeared earlier (day 1) and persisted longer in the TD-fed mice in comparison to CRC-fed mice. Furthermore, lesions of equivalent severity from each treatment group presented identical microscopic features. Finally, quantitative bacteriological results indicated that there was no significant difference in the number of cfu of isolated from mice fed TD and those fed CRC. These results demonstrate that the characteristic severe lesions associated with infection in mice can occur 1 day after oral challenge in mice fed Teklad diet 85420. Bacteriological results further indicate that the enhancement of lesion formation in this model is not due to any significant effect of the diet on numbers of spirochaetes in the caeca of infected mice.


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