OBJECTIVES: Salmonella-induced damage to the small intestine may decrease the villi-associated enzyme activity, causing malabsorption of nutrients and diarrhea, and thus contribute to the symptoms of infection. The objective of this study was to determine the mechanism by which different doses and durations of Salmonella infection and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) affect brush border enzyme activity in the mouse, and to determine if the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis 35624 could attenuate the intestinal damage. METHODS: BALB/c mice were challenged with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium UK1 at various doses (10 2-10 8 colony-forming unit (CFU)) and durations (10 6 CFU for 1-6 days). Mice were also treated with B. longum subsp. infantis 35624 for 2 weeks before and during a 6-day S. Typhimurium challenge (10 6 CFU), or before injection of LPS. The small intestine was assessed for morphological changes, mRNA expression of cytokines, and activity of the brush border enzymes sucrase-isomaltase, maltase, and alkaline phosphatase. RESULTS: S. Typhimurium infection significantly reduced the activity of all brush border enzymes in a dose- and time-dependent manner (P<0.05). This also occurred following injection of LPS. Pre-treatment with B. longum subsp. infantis 35624 prevented weight loss, protected brush border enzyme activity, reduced the small intestinal damage, and inhibited the increase in interleukin (IL)-10 and IL-8 expression due to Salmonella challenge. CONCLUSIONS: Salmonella infection reduces the small intestinal brush border enzyme activity in mice, with the level of reduction and associated weight loss increasing with dose and duration of infection. B. longum subsp. infantis 35624 treatment attenuated the effect of Salmonella infection on brush border enzyme activity and weight loss, which may be due to modulation of the host immune response.