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Microbes Infect. 2007 Apr;9(5):566-73. Epub 2007 Feb 20.

The mink as an animal model for Pseudomonas aeruginosa adhesion: binding of the bacterial lectins (PA-IL and PA-IIL) to neoglycoproteins and to sections of pancreas and lung tissues from healthy mink.

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  • 1Department of Oral Medicine, Dental School, University of Copenhagen, Nørre Allé 20, DK 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Lung infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, leading to chronic lung disease with impaired function, is the major course of morbidity and mortality among cystic fibrosis patients. The bacterium produces two lectins that bind to alpha-D-galactose (PA-IL) and L-fucose (PA-IIL), respectively, and lectin-carbohydrate interactions may be involved in microbial pathogenicity by creating bacterial adherence to epithelial and endothelial cells. An ideal animal model for P. aeruginosa infection has until now not been established, but the mink seems to be the only animal that has been reported to develop spontaneous P. aeruginosa infections in the airways. Since cystic fibrosis also severely may affect pancreatic function, we incubated sections from mink lungs and pancreas with a medium containing Pseudomonas lectins in order to detect in situ binding of the bacterial lectins. In the lungs, both lectins adhered to seromucinous glands located in the submucosa of the larger bronchi. Additionally, PA-IL reacted with the capillaries in the alveolar walls and with the small blood vessels forming the vasa vasorum around the larger vessels, while PA-IIL marked the goblet cells in the bronchial surface epithelium. In the pancreas, both lectins bound to the epithelium in the excretory ducts, and additionally, PA-IL strongly stained the pancreatic capillaries while PA-IIL staining was noticed in the apical part of acinar cells in the exocrine part of the gland while no lectin reaction could be recorded in the endocrine cells. Judging from the results in the present paper the mink should be considered a suitable model to study P. aeruginosa adherence.

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