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Neonatal Escherichia coli infections in domestic mammals: transmissibility of pathogenic characteristics



Neonatal Escherichia coli infections in domestic mammals: transmissibility of pathogenic characteristics



Ciba Foundation Symposium 1976(42): 45-72



Apart from the fact that different serotypes are involved, natural and experimental Escherichia coli infection in domestic mammals closely resembles natural E. coli infection in human beings. Some of the important characteristics of E. coli strains that cause disease in domestic mammals are determined by transmissible plasmids. These include enterotoxin, haemolysin and K88 antigen in piglet enteropathogenic strains and enterotoxin and K99 antigen production in calf and lamb enteropathogenic strains; most strains that cause generalized infections in young domestic mammals, i.e. invasive strains, also produce plasmid-determined colicine V. These are all good reasons for employing young domestic mammals as the animal model for studying certain aspects of E. coli infection in human beings. Exploiting the fact that plasmids can be introduced into bacterial cells by conjugation and can be removed from them by "curing", bacterial strains were created that differed from each other, as far as could be determined, only by the presence or absence of one or more of these plasmid-determined properties. These strains, or cell-free preparations of them, were then given by mouth to piglets, calves, lambs and baby rabbits. The results showed that the K88 antigen, probably on account of its adhesive properties, permitted pig enteropathogenic strains of E. coli to proliferate in the small intestine of piglets; the K99 antigen performed a similar function in calf and lamb enteropathogenic strains. The enterotoxin produced by the proliferating organisms was then chiefly responsible for the subsequent movement of fluid from the body into the small intestine and the consequent diarrhoea. Possession of the Col V plasmid contributed significantly to the virulence of invasive strains of E. coli by enabling them to resist more successfully the defence mechanisms of the host.

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Accession: 040780260

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PMID: 791599


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