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J Pediatr. 1991 Sep;119(3):380-5.

High incidence of serum antibodies to Escherichia coli O157 lipopolysaccharide in children with hemolytic-uremic syndrome.

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Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.


Because the classic hemolytic-uremic syndrome has been etiologically linked to intestinal infections by Escherichia coli O157 and other verotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC), we examined 22 consecutive children with acute hemolytic-uremic syndrome for the presence of VTEC, using microbiologic methods, and for a specific immune response to O157 lipopolysaccharide in acute-phase and follow-up sera, using the indirect hemagglutination assay and the immunoblot procedure. Of 22 children with enteropathic hemolytic-uremic syndrome, 15 (68%) had evidence of VTEC infection by culture of the pathogen or detection of free verotoxin in the feces, or both. Significantly elevated titers of short-lived agglutinins and IgM class antibodies against the O157 lipopolysaccharide were found in 20 (91%) of 22 patients, but not in two of three patients with non-O157 E. coli isolates or in healthy children or children with diarrhea caused by other enteric pathogens (p less than 0.01). The combined microbiologic and serologic procedures provided evidence for VTEC infection in all 22 patients. The high incidence of anti-O157 lipopolysaccharide antibodies in these patients indicates the predominance and the pathogenic potential of this serogroup. Both serologic techniques proved to be valuable tools to further characterize this form of hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Future studies on the induction of protective immunity seem warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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