Investigation of the role of typhoid toxin in acute typhoid fever in a human challenge model


Malick M. Gibani, Elizabeth Jones, Amber Barton, Celina Jin, Juliette Meek, Susana Camara, Ushma Galal, Eva Heinz, Yael Rosenberg-Hasson, Gerlinde Obermoser, Claire Jones, Danielle Campbell, Charlotte Black, Helena Thomaides-Brears, Christopher Darlow, Christina Dold, Laura Silva-Reyes, Luke Blackwell, Maria Lara-Tejero, Xuyao Jiao, Gabrielle Stack, Christoph J. Blohmke, Jennifer Hill, Brian Angus, Gordon Dougan, Jorge Galán and Andrew J. Pollard


Salmonella Typhi is a human host-restricted pathogen that is responsible for typhoid fever in approximately 10.9 million people annually. The typhoid toxin is postulated to have a central role in disease pathogenesis, the establishment of chronic infection and human host restriction. However, its precise role in typhoid disease in humans is not fully defined. We studied the role of typhoid toxin in acute infection using a randomized, double-blind S. Typhi human challenge model. Forty healthy volunteers were randomized (1:1) to oral challenge with 104 colony-forming units of wild-type or an isogenic typhoid toxin deletion mutant (TN) of S. Typhi. We observed no significant difference in the rate of typhoid infection (fever ≥38 °C for ≥12 h and/or S. Typhi bacteremia) between participants challenged with wild-type or TN S. Typhi (15 out of 21 (71%) versus 15 out of 19 (79%); P = 0.58). The duration of bacteremia was significantly longer in participants challenged with the TN strain compared with wild-type (47.6 hours (28.9–97.0) versus 30.3(3.6–49.4); P ≤ 0.001). The clinical syndrome was otherwise indistinguishable between wild-type and TN groups. These data suggest that the typhoid toxin is not required for infection and the development of early typhoid fever symptoms within the context of a human challenge model. Further clinical data are required to assess the role of typhoid toxin in severe disease or the establishment of bacterial carriage.

Click here to read the article, published in Nature Medicine.