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Res Microbiol. 1992 Nov-Dec;143(9):869-78.

Characteristics of haemolytic Escherichia coli with particular reference to production of cytotoxic necrotizing factor type 1 (CNF1).

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Departamento de Microbioloxía e Parasitoloxía, Facultade de Veterinaria, Universidade de Santiago, Lugo, Spain.


A total of 1,106 Escherichia coli strains isolated in Spain between 1986 and 1991 from extraintestinal infections and faeces of healthy controls were examined for production of alpha-haemolysin (Hly). Among strains causing urinary tract infections, sepsis and other extraintestinal infections, Hly production was detected in 51% (P < 0.001), 32% (P < 0.001) and 18% (P < 0.02), respectively. In contrast, only 9% of faecal isolates from healthy individuals synthesized Hly. The 356 haemolytic E. coli strains characterized in this study belonged to 28 different serogroups. However, 284 (80%) were of one of eight serogroups (02, 04, 06, 08, 018, 022, 075 and 083); 40% and 31% of haemolytic strains expressed P fimbriae and mannose-resistant haemagglutination (MRHA) type III, respectively. We have found that haemolytic isolates of E. coli may clearly be divided into two categories on the basis of the ability to produce cytotoxic necrotizing factor type 1 (CNF1). The serogroups and adhesins determined in Hly+CNF1+ strains were generally different from those found in Hly+CNF1- strains. Thus, serogroups 02, 06 and 075 were associated with haemolytic E. coli producing CNF1+, whereas serogroups 01, 08, 018, 028 and 086 were established more frequently among Hly+CNF1- strains. While expression of P fimbriae was more frequently detected in Hly+CNF1- strains (70 versus 29%, P < 0.001), MRHA type III was usually identified in Hly+CNF1+ E. coli (42 versus 1%, P < 0.001). Furthermore, the sonic extracts of Hly+CNF1+ strains caused necrosis in rabbit skin (96 versus 25%, P < 0.001) and death in intraperitoneally injected mice (73 versus 11%, P < 0.001) more frequently than sonic extracts of Hly+CNF1- strains.

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