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Can J Microbiol. 2002 Jan;48(1):99-103.

Cross-protection against challenge by intravenous Escherichia coli verocytotoxin 1 (VT1) in rabbits immunized with VT2 toxoid.

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Research Institute and Department of Pediatric Laboratory Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada.


Rabbits challenged intravenously with Escherichia coli verocytotoxin (VT1, Shiga toxin 1, Stx1) die after developing diarrhea and paralysis, and this outcome can be prevented by pre-immunization with VT1 toxoid. In nonimmune rabbits, intravenously administered 125I-VT1 binds to the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract, whereas in immunized animals, these organs are spared and the toxin localizes in the liver and spleen. In rabbits immunized with either VT1 or VT2 toxoids, both the homologous or heterologous toxins are prevented from binding to target organs. This has lead to the advancement of a hypothesis that cross-protection in vivo can be induced to both toxins by immunization with a toxoid even though these toxins do not exhibit cross-neutralization in vitro. It was shown that rabbits immunized with VT2 were fully protected from the intravenous administration of 10 LD50 and 50 LD50 of VT1, and this correlated directly with the protection from binding of this toxin to target organs. These findings have important implications on the design of the vaccination strategies to prevent human VT-mediated diseases and also validate the concept of testing for immunity to VT by monitoring the inhibition of binding of the 125I-VT to target organs in preference to performing LD50 assays.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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