June 14, 2021 8:26 AM

Beginning Monday, June 14, 2021, the MSU Veterinary Medical Center will allow clients into the building with patients. Find details here.

Any patient presented to the MSU Small Animal Emergency Service will undergo an initial medical evaluation to determine if urgent care is needed, and whether hospitalization is warranted. The MSU Small Animal Emergency Service will only hospitalize patients that our clinicians consider to be unstable or to have life-threatening conditions.

to Mediate GI-Triggered Autoimmune Disease.

Dr. Linda Mansfield, an Albert C. and Lois E. Dehn Chair and University Distinguished Professor, can often be found in MSU’s Food Safety and Toxicology Building, where her research laboratories are located. She is researching the role of the human gut’s microbiome in disease development, specifically gastrointestinal (GI) diseases caused by food poisoning.

“By studying enteric pathogens that cause GI disease, we can look at their genes that cause virulence and how they evolve in the host,” says Mansfield. “This can give us a better understanding of how these bacteria can trigger acute and chronic diseases.”

“By studying enteric pathogens that cause GI disease, we can look at their genes that cause virulence and how they evolve in the host. This can give us a better understanding of how these bacteria can trigger acute and chronic diseases.”
— Dr. Linda Mansfield

One group of diarrhea-inducing bacteria is from the genus Campylobacter. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Campylobacter are bacteria responsible for much of the diarrheal illness in the United States. It is estimated that more than 1.3 million people are affected annually by Campylobacter—but Mansfield says that number is likely much higher because many infections go unreported. Campylobacter is commonly found in chickens and other birds, which act as ideal reservoirs for the bacteria (Campylobacter  can, however, be found in other animals; in September 2017, an outbreak was linked to a chain of pet stores).
 
Campylobacter jejuni (C. jejuni) is the species responsible for most human illness, and has been Mansfield’s focus now for many years. She developed a diagnostic test and used it to demonstrate how C. jejuni can lead to autoimmune diseases like inflammatory bowel disease and Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a condition that causes pain, peripheral neuropathy, respiratory paralysis, and occasionally death.
“Once someone is infected, C. jejuni can trigger autoimmune diseases like GBS in a small percentage of people,” says Mansfield. “And while GBS has only a 5–10 percent mortality rate, how long a patient can take to recover is unpredictable. They also may be left with permanent nerve damage.”

In patients suffering from GBS, C. jejuni works by using a molecular mimicry mechanism to manipulate its host’s immune system. It tricks the host’s antibodies into attacking the myelin sheath, a protective, fatty covering wrapped around the part of the nerve called the axon. The resulting nerve damage can cause pain, weakness, numbness, and paralysis.

Mansfield’s goal is to discover options for future drug development, both therapeutic and preventative. To do this, she is using a murine (mouse) model to locate a biomarker in C. jejuni patients that may allow scientists to predict whether the patient will develop GBS.

In Mansfield’s recent research, her team used high-throughput sequencing and two murine models—one with conventional mouse microbiota and the other with stable human gut microbiota—to examine whether the structure of the gut microbial community alters the hosts’ GI inflammation or autoimmune responses after C. jejuni infection resulting in colitis or GBS.

“The data we collected showed that human gut microbiota alters the host-pathogen interactions in the model,” says Mansfield. “In these mice, there were increased colonization of Campylobacter and increased autoantibodies and autoimmune responses, meaning that microbiota composition is another factor that impacts susceptibility to GBS.”

Food poisoning and autoimmune disease are not the only concerns surrounding Campylobacter. The bacteria are becoming more of a threat due to a large level of resistance to antibiotics. Additionally, the antibiotics used to treat Campylobacter can wipe out a patient’s microbiome, making subsequent autoimmune diseases more severe.

“While GBS is a rare disease, we can save lives and healthcare costs by developing therapies to speed recovery in patients and preventatives to stop it—and other autoimmune diseases—from occurring in the first place,” says Mansfield.

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The Dean’s Perspective Read More
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Greener Pastures

College and farm partner to improve veterinary education and the dairy industry of tomorrow.

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Investing in the Future

MSU Donors’ Impact on the Dairy Industry.

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Food Systems Fellowship Program

12 years of adding value to the student experience.

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Not Just Medicine

Clerkship Series Teaches Professional Skills To Food Animal Veterinary Students.

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Who will keep food safe? Spartans Will.

This Spartan is One of a Kind.

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Experts Revamp Food Protection and Defense Course Read More
Online Continuing Education Emerges from the MSU Online Food Safety Program Read More
Discover Read More
Quality Milk Alliance

Prioritizes Mastitis Preventatives and Training.

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Researching New Therapies and Preventatives

to Mediate GI-Triggered Autoimmune Disease.

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Reducing Early-Life Adversity for Pig, Human Health Read More
Slowing Down Antibiotics and Speeding Up Herd Recovery Read More
Wake Up: Treating Tuberculosis by Stopping Dormancy

Treating Tuberculosis by Stopping Dormancy.

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Heal Read More
Healing the Herd

Hospital Focuses on Prevention for Welfare and Food Safety.

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Scholarships Empower

2017 Alumnus to Succeed in Dairy Herd Health Medicine.

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Protect Read More
Food Safety and Public Health

Veterinarians Are Integral to the Process.

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Defining and Fighting Food Fraud Read More
College Welcomes New PDI Chair, One Health Ambassador Read More
New curriculum offers opportunity for food animal students Read More
Class of 2021 Profile Read More
Alumni News Read More
In Memoriam Read More
Why Scholarships? Why Now?

Students are the lifeblood of the College, which is working to ensure that MSU is the top choice for prospective veterinary students.

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Homecoming 2017 Read More
Celebration of Generosity 2017 Read More