Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Vet Microbiol. 2009 Jun 12;137(3-4):320-5. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.01.025. Epub 2009 Jan 22.

Clostridium perfringens beta-toxin targets endothelial cells in necrotizing enteritis in piglets.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Animal Pathology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, 3001 Bern, Switzerland.


Beta-toxin (CPB) is known to be the major virulence factor of Clostridium perfringens type C strains, which cause necrotizing enteritis in pigs, sheep, goats, calves, and humans. The exact mode of action, in particular the cellular targets of CPB in the intestine of naturally affected species, is however still not resolved. To investigate localization of CPB in naturally occurring necrotizing enteritis, we evaluated 52 piglets with spontaneously acquired C. perfringens type C enteritis and 14 control animals by immunohistochemistry. Our results consistently revealed binding of CPB to vascular endothelial cells in peracute to acute lesions of necrotizing enteritis. Subacute cases, in contrast, demonstrated reduced or no CPB staining at the endothelium, mainly due to widespread vascular necrosis. From these results we conclude, that the pathogenesis of C. perfringens type C induced necrotizing enteritis involves binding of CPB to endothelial cells in the small intestine during the early phase of the disease. Thus, by targeting endothelial cells, CPB might specifically induce vascular necrosis, hemorrhage and subsequent hypoxic tissue necrosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk