Campylobacter is a normal inhabitant of the chicken gut. Pathogenic infection with this organism in humans is accompanied by severe inflammation of the intestinal mucosal surface. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 (LG2055) to inhibit the adhesion and invasion of Campylobacter jejuni in vitro and to suppress C. jejuni colonization of chicks in vivo. Pretreatment with LG2055 significantly reduced adhesion to and invasion of a human epithelial cell line, Intestine 407, by C. jejuni 81-176. Methanol (MeOH)-fixed LG2055 also reduced infection by C. jejuni 81-176. However, proteinase K (ProK)-Treated LG2055 eliminated the inhibitory effects. Moreover, LG2055 co-Aggregated with C. jejuni 81-176. ProK treatment prevented this co-Aggregation, indicating that the co-Aggregation phenotype mediated by the proteinaceous cell-surface components of LG2055 is important for reducing C. jejuni 81-176 adhesion and invasion. In an in vivo assay, oral doses of LG2055 were administered to chicks daily for 14 days after oral inoculation with C. jejuni 81-176. At 14 days post-inoculation, chicks treated with LG2055 had significantly reduced cecum colonization by C. jejuni. Reduction in the number of C. jejuni 81-176 cells adhering to and internalized by human epithelial cells demonstrated that LG2055 is an organism that effectively and competitively excludes C. jejuni 81-176. In addition, the results of the chick colonization assay suggest that treatment with LG2055 could be useful in suppressing C. jejuni colonization of the chicks at early growth stages.
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