The susceptibility of sparrows (Passer domesticus) and strains of mice (Swiss, BALB/c, C-57 and DB-A) to Lawsonia intracellularis infection was studied. Thirty-two sparrows were inoculated with pure culture of L. intracellularis and eleven received sham inoculum. Feces were collected on -1, 7, 14 and 21 days post infection (dpi) for detection of L. intracellularis by PCR. After 21 days, all sparrows were euthanized and the tissues processed for histology and immunohistochemistry (IHC). One hundred sixty mice of four different strains (n=40, per strain) were used. For each mouse strain, 16 animals received mucosa homogenate from a pig infected with L. intracellularis, 16 received pure culture of L. intracellularis and eight animals received sham inoculum. Two control and four inoculated mice from each group were euthanized on 7, 14, 21 and 28 dpi. Sections of intestine were collected for histologic analysis and IHC and pooled feces were collected for L. intracellularis PCR. None of the sparrows had any histologic lesions characteristic of proliferative enteropathy or antigen labeling by IHC. All sparrow fecal samples were negative by PCR. All mice strains studied had histopathological lesions typical of PE and IHC labeling consistent with L. intracellularis infection, especially those animals inoculated with pure culture. The most severe lesions were observed in DB-A and Swiss mice. Fecal shedding was detected in all mice strains, with peak at 14 dpi. We conclude that sparrows do not seem to be relevant in the epidemiology of L. intracellularis. The results showed variations in the lesions among the four mice strains used.
Lawsonia intracellularis; mouse; Mus musculus; sparrow; Passer domesticus; experimental infection