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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1999 Mar 1;172(1):29-34.

An apoptotic response by J774 macrophage cells is common upon infection with diarrheagenic Escherichia coli.

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Department of Microbiology, UmeƄ University, Sweden.


Representative strains of the different diarrheagenic Escherichia coli virotypes were tested for their potential cytotoxicity in the J774 macrophage cell line. All the seven virotypes of E. coli were cytotoxic to J774 macrophages, and in most cases the bacteria induced an apoptotic response. With the exception of the enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) strain, all the other six virotypes caused induction of apoptosis as evidenced by quantitative analysis of the characteristic DNA fragmentation at the individual cell level. These results suggest that apoptosis could be one of the mechanisms contributing to the diarrheal disease development.

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