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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2007 Apr;269(2):221-8. Epub 2007 Jan 11.

Specificity of catecholamine-induced growth in Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella enterica and Yersinia enterocolitica.

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Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, School of Medicine, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.


The present study demonstrates that catecholamine responsiveness in Yersinia enterocolitica, a bacterial pathogen whose infectious spectrum is principally limited to the gut, is limited to norepinephrine and dopamine, and not epinephrine; this behavior contrasts with observations for two pathogens with a wider extra-gastrointestinal spectrum, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica, which respond to all three catecholamines. Epinephrine showed lower potency than norepinephrine and dopamine in inducing growth of E. coli and S. enterica, and was a potent antagonist of norepinephrine and dopamine growth responsiveness in Y. enterocolitica. Given that only norepinephrine and dopamine and not epinephrine-containing neurons are found with the enteric nervous system, the results suggest that certain of the more exclusive enteric pathogens may have developed response systems preferentially for those neuroendocrine hormones that are produced by the enteric nervous system as host-derived signals by which to sense the environment and initiate pathogenic processes.

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