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Nephron. 1994;66(1):21-8.

Verotoxin-binding in human renal sections.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ont., Canada.


Gastrointestinal infection with verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) has been strongly implicated in the etiology of the hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the leading cause of pediatric acute renal failure. The binding of fluorescein-conjugated VT1 overlaid on to frozen human renal sections has been examined. Sections from biopsies of infants aged < 2 years were compared with those from adult autopsies. VT primarily stained distal convoluted tubules, particularly those adjacent to glomeruli, and collecting ducts. VT-binding was detected within the infant glomerulus but not the adult. Binding of the toxin was removed when the section was pretreated with alpha-galactosidase, confirming the receptor-binding specificity for globotriaosyl ceramide (gal alpha 1-4gal beta 1-4 glucosylceramide), the glycolipid receptor for VT. These studies may suggest that differential localization of this glycolipid in the pediatric renal glomerulus is a risk factor for the development of HUS following infection with VTEC.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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