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Vet Microbiol. 1988 Jun;17(2):159-69.

Effect of experimentally-induced villus atrophy on adhesion of K88ac-positive Escherichia coli in just-weaned piglets.

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  • 1Laboratory of Veterinary Physiology, State University Centre of Antwerp, Belgium.


Three- to four-week-old, just-weaned piglets were infected with transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) virus and the next day with K88ac+ enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC). Histological examination of caudal jejunum and ileum of piglets killed 2-3 days after virus challenge (1-2 days after ETEC infection) revealed severe villus atrophy especially in the jejunum compared with controls (P less than 0.05). Four-5 days after TGE virus infection villus length increased and after 7 days it was near normal. Villi scraped from jejunal and ileal mucosa of the piglets were incubated in vitro with K88ac+ E. coli and the number of bacteria adhering to 250 micron villus brush border was counted. Attachment of bacteria to villi of piglets killed 2-3 days after TGE virus infection was significantly decreased in comparison with adhesion to villi of non-infected piglets or of piglets killed 7 days after the virus infection. Correlation between in vitro adhesion and villus height was 0.6649 (P less than 0.001). The results suggest that the experimentally-induced villus atrophy was attended with a temporarily diminished susceptibility of villus enterocytes to adhesion of K88ac+ E. coli.

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