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J Infect Dis. 2000 Mar;181(3):1027-33.

Segmented filamentous bacteria prevent colonization of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli O103 in rabbits.

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Biotechnology Laboratory and Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Despite their distribution in the intestines of many mammals, including man, segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) have not been found in rabbits, nor has any function been identified for these uncultivable microbes. New Zealand White rabbits were infected with rabbit enteropathogenic Escherichia coli O103 (REPEC O103) derivatives, followed up clinically, and randomly killed 1-4 days after inoculation. Intestinal tissue samples were examined by electron and light microscopy to search for SFB and to evaluate REPEC O103 colonization. Twelve of 21 rabbits showed SFB colonization on ileal absorptive villi. The presence of SFB was correlated with lack of REPEC 0103 ileal colonization (P<.01) and disease. Rabbits without SFB were always colonized by this pathogen. SFB appear to inhibit intestinal colonization by REPEC O103 and thus protect against REPEC 0103 disease. SFB colonization in rabbits is also described for the first time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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