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Vet Microbiol. 2006 Apr 16;114(1-2):82-93. Epub 2005 Dec 2.

Serotypes and intimin types of intestinal and faecal strains of eae+ Escherichia coli from weaned pigs.

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  • 1Veterinary Medical Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, H-1143 Budapest, Hungaria krt. 21, Hungary.


Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) that are known to cause severe diarrhoea in children and young rabbits are well characterized, but there are few reports on the serotypes and intimin (eae) types of EPEC in weaned pigs. Based on detection of the eae gene by PCR and by DNA-hybridisation with LEE specific gene probes, 20 intestinal and 17 faecal eae(+) strains from diarrhoeal (164) and non-diarrhoeal (57) weaned pigs from 13 Hungarian farms, representing 12.8% of diarrhoeal and 14.0% of non-diarrhoeal pigs, were identified. The dominant serotype was O123:H11 (40%) among intestinal, and O108:H9 (23%) among faecal strains. The majority (85%) of the intestinal strains possessed eae-beta and 10% carried eae-gamma gene. In contrast, significantly (p<0.025) fewer faecal strains (53%) harboured the eae-beta gene, and 23% were eae-gamma positive. In vitro adhesion tests of intestinal and faecal eae(+) strains indicated adhesion of 20/37 of the strains to PK15 (porcine kidney) cells while only 3/37 strains adhered to HeLa cells. The ultrastructure of intimate bacterial attachment of representative porcine eae(+) strains to PK15 cells showed no pedestal formation, in contrast to the human EPEC (O127:H5, eae-alpha) strain. In conclusion, the data do not demonstrate a significant role for the eae(+)E. coli in porcine post-weaning diarrhoea, but provide new information on a dominant porcine serotype (O123:H11, eae-beta), and on differences of serotypes and intimin types of porcine eae(+) strains according to their site of isolation. Furthermore there was an indication that the PK15 cell line could be used as a model to study in vitro adherence of eae(+)E. coli of some human and porcine origin.

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