Campus Units

Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine, Veterinary Pathology

Document Type


Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation




We describe here the gross and microscopic lesions in 18 experimentally induced and 120 natural Campylobacter abortions. In natural Campylobacter abortions, gross lesions were reported infrequently; placentitis was recorded in 6% and hepatic lesions in 4% of our field cases. Placentitis was the microscopic lesion identified most consistently in natural abortions (93%) and was often observed in association with abundant bacterial colonies in chorionic villi (54%) and less often with placental vasculitis (13%). In natural abortions, suppurative fetal pneumonia (48%), necrosuppurative hepatitis (16%), and purulent meningitis (7%) were also observed. The better-preserved specimens from experimentally induced abortions were utilized to define placental changes more precisely. Placentitis was identified in all 18 experimentally induced abortions and was observed most consistently in the chorionic villus stroma (100%), often accompanied by suppurative surface exudate (89%). An inflammatory infiltrate was less commonly identified in the cotyledonary hilus (39%) and intercotyledonary placenta (22%). Bacteria were visualized in H&E-stained sections in 89% of placentas from experimentally infected ewes, primarily as well-demarcated bacterial colonies within subtrophoblastic, sinusoidal capillaries (89%), in the cotyledonary villus stroma (89%), and within the cytoplasm of trophoblasts (22%). Transmission electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry confirmed that the vast majority of the well-demarcated bacterial colonies characteristic of Campylobacter abortion were within subtrophoblastic sinusoidal capillaries. The most characteristic microscopic lesions identified in cases of Campylobacter abortion in sheep were placentitis with placental bacterial colonies, placental vasculitis, and fetal pneumonia.


This article is published as Yaeger, Michael J., Orhan Sahin, Paul J. Plummer, Zuowei Wu, Judith A. Stasko, and Qijing Zhang. "The pathology of natural and experimentally induced Campylobacter jejuni abortion in sheep." Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation (2021). DOI: 10.1177/10406387211033293.


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