The aim of the present study was to compare the invasion of selected zoonotic Salmonella serotypes of poultry in an in vivo chicken intestinal loop model and also in vitro in epithelial cell cultures. Invasion was measured relative to a reference strain, Salmonella Typhimurium 4/74 invH201::TnphoA. Two serotypes demonstrated intracellular log(10) counts that differed significantly from all other serotypes tested: Salmonella Enteritidis PT4 being 1.5 log(10) colony forming units (CFU) ( 31-fold) higher, and Salmonella Tennessee being 0.7 log(10) CFU (fivefold) lower than the reference strain (P less than or equal to 0.0001). A group of serotypes, which can be vertically transmitted, showed significantly higher intracellular counts (fourfold to eightfold) than the reference strain. The group included S. Typhimurium 4/74, S. Typhimurium DT104 (poultry and porcine isolates), S. Enteritidis PT1, S. Enteritidis PT6, S. Enteritidis PT8, and Salmonella Berta. The serotypes Salmonella Hadar, Salmonella Virchow, S. 4,12: b:-, S. Typhimurium DT41, and Salmonella Infantis, most of which are considered horizontally transmitted, did not show significantly different intracellular counts from the reference strain. Results from the cell culture invasion studies agreed with the in vivo data, with the exception of S. Berta and the poultry isolate of S. Typhimurium DT104.