The gastrointestinal tract represents the first barrier against pathogens. However, the interaction of Campylobacter with intestinal epithelial cells and its effects on the intestinal function of chickens are poorly studied. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to characterize the effects of C. jejuni oral infection on the mRNA expression of nutrient transporters in the intestine. Newly hatched specific pathogen-free (SPF) chickens were orally infected with C. jejuni (NCTC 12744; 1 × 10(8)CFU/bird) at 14 days of age. Quantitative RT-PCR analyses at 14 days-post infection (dpi) revealed that the relative gene expression of the sodium/glucose cotransporter (SGLT-1) and the peptide transporter (PepT-1) was down-regulated (P<0.05) in all investigated segments (duodenum, jejunum and cecum) of Campylobacter-infected birds, while the facilitated glucose transporter (GLUT-2) was down-regulated (P<0.05) in jejunal and cecal tissues only. Furthermore, down-regulation (P<0.05) of the cationic amino acid transporter (CAT-2) and the excitatory amino acid transporter (EAAT-3) was seen in the jejunum, and down-regulation (P<0.05) of the l-type amino acid transporter (y(+)LAT-2) was noticed in the duodenum of infected birds. The decreased expression of intestinal nutrient transporters coincided with a decrease (P<0.05) in body weight and body weight gain during a 2-week post infection period. For the first time, it can be concluded that nutrient transporter expression is compromised in the small and large intestine of Campylobacter-infected birds with negative consequences on growth performance. Furthermore, the down-regulation of mRNA expression of glucose and amino acid transporters may result in accumulation of nutrients in the intestinal lumen, which may favor C. jejuni replication and colonization.