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BMC Microbiol. 2009 Aug 20;9:171. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-9-171.

A phylogenetic group of Escherichia coli associated with active left-sided inflammatory bowel disease.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Hvidovre University Hospital, DK- 2650 Hvidovre, Denmark.



Escherichia coli have been found in increased numbers in tissues from patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and adherent-invasive E. coli have been found in resected ileum from patients with Crohn's disease. This study aimed to characterize possible differences in phylogenetic group (triplex PCR), extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) genes and multilocus sequence type (MLST) between E. coli strains isolated from IBD patients with past or present involvement of the left side of the colon and from controls.


Fecal samples were collected from 18 patients and from 10 healthy controls. Disease activity was evaluated by sigmoidoscopy. Interestingly, E. coli strains of the phylogenetic group B2 were cultured from 60% of patients with IBD compared to 11% of healthy controls (p < 0.05). Furthermore, when comparing the number of E. coli B2 strains with at least one positive ExPEC gene among different groups, 86% were found positive among active IBD patients, significantly more than 13% among inactive IBD patients (p < 0.05), and 11% among healthy controls (p < 0.05). The B2 phylogenetic group was found in a specific cluster based on MLST, but no further separation between E. coli strains associated with active compared to inactive IBD was achieved.


In conclusion, E. coli of the phylogenetic group B2 were isolated more frequently from IBD patients with past or present involvement of the left side of the colon compared to healthy controls, and B2 strains with ExPEC genes were found more frequently among IBD patients with active disease compared to patients with inactive disease.

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