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Microbiol Immunol. 2005;49(6):493-503.

Interleukin-8 secretion by epithelial cells infected with diffusely adherent Escherichia coli possessing Afa adhesin-coding genes.

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Department of Food and Human Health Sciences, Graduate School of Human Life Science, Osaka City University, Japan.


Escherichia coli that adhere sparsely to human epithelial (HEp-2) cells are known as diffusely adherent E. coli(DAEC) and considered potentially diarrheagenic. The role of the afimbrial adhesive sheath (Afa)-identified originally as a uropathogenic factor-in diffuse adhesion is now understood. However, the role of DAEC in diarrheal disease remains controversial. Recently, ability to induce interleukin-8 (IL-8) secretion from intestinal epithelial cells has been suggested as one of the properties of enterovirulent bacteria. In this study, we examined whether DAEC strains possessing Afa genes induced IL-8 in cultures of human carcinoma epithelial cells (e.g., HEp-2, Caco-2, and T84). Nineteen afa-positive DAEC strains were examined for their ability to induce IL-8 secretion, and only 7 strains (37%; 7/19) induced IL-8 as much as enteroaggregative E. coli did. No marked differences in adhesion were observed between high and low inducers. Diffusive adhesiveness itself is unlikely to be sufficient to induce IL-8. All high inducers were motile and others were nonmotile. Additional stimulation by flagella may be required to cause high levels of chemokine induction. Motility or presence of flagella can be an important criterion to predict DAEC diarrheagenicity at clinical laboratories.

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