To help study the potentially life-threatening meningitis caused by Salmonella, scientists at Hamilton's Rocky Mountain Laboratories have helped develop a new way to examine the bacteria using mice.

Effects of the new Salmonella-infected mice model closely resemble the effects in human brains, which could help investigators examine what happens when the bacteria infects the central nervous system. That infection can be hard to detect, but can lead to permanent brain damage or death.

In a news release from Rocky Mountain Laboratories, the National Institutes of Health reported success in tracking Salmonella infection in mice from the gastro-intestinal tract to the bloodstream and into the brain, causing meningitis.

An article about the study is in a recent issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

Olivia Steele-Mortimer and Karin Peterson led the research between the Hamilton lab and biologists at the University of Colorado. In the news release, the scientists said the model should help determine how the bacteria infects and damages the brain, including which immune cells are involved.

A goal would be to study potential treatments to prevent Salmonella from reaching the central nervous system and limiting its damage.

Mortimer is deputy chief of NIAID's Laboratory of Bacteriology and Peterson is a neuroimmunology investigator at the RML Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases.

The Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton operates as part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which conducts and supports research at the National Institutes of Health.