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Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(3):159-69.

Epithelial cells secrete interleukin-8 in response to adhesion and invasion of diffusely adhering Escherichia coli lacking Afa/Dr genes.

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Department of Food and Human Health Sciences, Graduate School of Human Life Science, Osaka City University, Osaka 558-8585, Japan.


Escherichia coli that sparsely adhere to human epithelial cells are known as diffusely adherent E. coli (DAEC), and the role of the Afa/Dr family of adhesins is now understood. Strains that do not possess Afa/Dr, however, comprise another group of DAEC, of which the pathogenicity remains unknown. The ability to induce interleukin-8 (IL-8) secretion from intestinal epithelial cells might be a feature of enterovirulent bacteria. We previously found that some Afa/Dr DAEC strains induce IL-8 by stimulating epithelial cells with flagella. The present study examines whether non-Afa/Dr DAEC can induce IL-8 in epithelial cells (HEp-2, INT407, and T84). Among 21 strains, 11 (52%; 11/21) induced as much IL-8 as high inducer strains of Afa/Dr DAEC. Adhesion did not significantly differ between high and low inducers; therefore diffuse adhesion alone is probably insufficient to induce IL-8. It was shown that IL-8 induction and the number of intracellular bacteria directly correlated. Wortmannin, an inhibitor of the phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate kinase, reduced both intracellular bacteria and IL-8 secretion. Motile strains were significantly more prevalent among high (10/11) than low (4/10) inducers. However, 4 low invasive strains hardly induced IL-8 despite their motility. In conclusion, some non-Afa/Dr DAEC invoke the induction of high levels of inflammatory cytokines. Unlike Afa/Dr DAEC, however, non-Afa/Dr strains may require invasion to cause strong induction. These non-Afa/Dr high inducers can be enteropathogenic for the cytokine-inducing properties.

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