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J Surg Res. 2000 Apr;89(2):132-8.

Aggregation substance promotes colonic mucosal invasion of Enterococcus faecalis in an ex vivo model.

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Department of General Surgery, University of Ulm, Ulm, 89075, Germany.



Bacterial translocation through the gastrointestinal tract is the crucial step in the pathogenesis of intraabdominal infections. We assessed whether aggregation substance (AS), a bacterial adhesin and virulence factor of Enterococcus faecalis, promotes bacterial translocation and colonic mucosal invasion in an ex vivo experiment.


Colonic mucosa of male Wistar rats was placed in a modified Ussing system. The mucosal side of the chamber was filled with a suspension of E. faecalis OG1X:pAM721 (AS-positive) or E. faecalis OG1X (AS-negative). The serosal side was filled with sterile Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium. For assessment of colonic mucosal invasion the mucosal side was incubated for 2.5 h with a suspension of AS-positive or AS-negative enterococci. After being washed, a solution of gentamicin and penicillin G in tissue culture medium was added on both sides in order to kill extracellular bacteria. Subsequently, the mucosa was removed from the system, washed, lysed with Triton X-100, and homogenized. Viable intramural bacteria were quantified by plating serial dilutions of the homogenate on Todd-Hewitt broth agar plates. To quantify bacterial translocation samples which were taken at various time points from the serosal side were plated on Todd-Hewitt broth agar plates and colony forming units (CFU) were determined.


Invasion of the AS-positive E. faecalis strain OG1X:pAM721 into the colonic mucosa was significantly higher than invasion rates of the AS-negative strain OG1X (2.88 log(10) CFU/ml vs 1.73 log(10) CFU/ml; P = 0.02). However, none of the tested strains was found to translocate from the mucosal to the serosal side within the incubation time of 4 h.


The aggregation substance promotes invasion of E. faecalis into colonic mucosa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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