Abnormal Development - Listeria

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Listeria monocytogenes bacteria (Image CDC)

The bacterium Listeria monocytogenes is the pathogenic form of the 7 listeria species. Infection is generally through ingestion of organisms in contaminated food. Maternal symptoms may be mild, fetal effects can range from insignificant through to major abnormalities. Maternal treatment relates to potential developmental effects. Pregnancy greatly increases the risk of listeriosis, with pregnant women about 60% of all cases (male and female) aged 10 to 40 years. Similar effects are seem in other mammalian species.[1] See also the listeriosis review article[2] and the Guinea pig placenta listeria model[3] Generalized suppression of immunity during pregnancy is suggest to have a role in susceptibility, though recent results in a mouse model suggest that susceptibility can occur very early in a pregnancy and may relate to enteric carriage rate.[4]

Bacterial Links: bacterial infection | syphilis | gonorrhea | tuberculosis | listeria | salmonella | TORCH | Environmental | Category:Bacteria

Some Recent Findings

Listeria Infection

  1. ingestion of contaminated food
  2. colonization of the intestine
  3. intestinal translocation
  4. replication in the liver and spleen
  5. either the resolution of infection or spread to other organs resulting in a systemic infection


Australian Data

Gram Stain

Bacterial staining procedure named after Hans Christian Gram (1853 - 1938). Generally divides bacteria into either:

  • Gram-positive bacteria purple crystal violet stain is trapped by layer of peptidoglycan (forms outer layer of the cell).
  • Gram-negative bacteria outer membrane prevents stain from reaching peptidoglycan layer in the periplasm, outer membrane then permeabilized and pink safranin counterstain is trapped by peptidoglycan layer.
Links: Histology Stains

Australian NHMRC Recommendations

The Australian NHMRC (1988) recommends neonates be assessed for follow-up care under the following conditions.

  • Birthweight less than 1500g or gestational age less than 32 weeks
  • Small-for-gestational-age neonates
  • Perinatal asphyxia
  • Apgar score less than 3 at 5 minutes
  • clinical evidence of neurological dysfunction
  • delay in onset of spontaneous respiration for more than 5 minutes and requiring mechanical ventilation
  • Clinical evidence of central nervous system abnormalities ie., seizures, hypotonia
  • Hyperbilirubinaemia of greater than 350umol/l in full term neonates
  • Genetic, dysmorphic or metabolic disorders or a family history of serious genetic disorder
  • Perinatal or serious neonatal infection including children of mothers who are HIV positive
  • Psychosocial problems eg., infants of drug-addicted or alcoholic mothers.

Links: NHMRC WWW Page


  1. <pubmed>20885996</pubmed>
  2. <pubmed>12648833</pubmed>| PLoS One
  3. <pubmed>15871123</pubmed>
  4. <pubmed>20885996</pubmed>
  5. <pubmed>21501460</pubmed>






Medical Microbiology - Listeria | Listeria Search

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Search PubMed: Congenital Listeria | Abnormal Embryology Listeria | Abnormal Development Listeria

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2019, October 19) Embryology Abnormal Development - Listeria. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Abnormal_Development_-_Listeria

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© Dr Mark Hill 2019, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G