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Can J Vet Res. 2011 Apr;75(2):81-8.

Adherence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to epithelial cells in vitro and in pig gut loops is affected by bacterial culture conditions.

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Guelph Food Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 93 Stone Road West, Guelph, Ontario N1G 5C9.


The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of bacterial culture conditions on adherence of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7 strain 86-24 in vivo to pig enterocytes and to compare the results with adherence in vitro to cultured HEp-2 and IPEC-J2 cells. Growth of O157:H7 in MacConkey broth (MB) resulted in almost no adherence to both HEp-2 and IPEC-J2 cells; prior exposure of the bacteria to pH 2.5 reduced adherence. There was greater adherence by bacteria from static cultures than by those from shaken cultures and by bacteria cultured in brain-heart infusion (BHI) plus NaHCO₃ (BHIN) than by bacteria cultured in BHI. In contrast, in pig ileal loops, bacteria cultured in MB adhered well to enterocytes, and prior exposure to pH 2.5 had no effect on adherence. Among several media tested for their effect on bacterial adherence in the pig intestine, MB and BHIN proved to be the best. Bacterial adherence was dose-dependent and was more extensive in the ileum than in the colon. This study demonstrated that there are remarkable differences between culture conditions that promote adherence of an EHEC O157:H7 strain in vitro and in vivo, that culture conditions profoundly affect adherence to epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo, and that pig ileal loops are better suited to adherence studies than are colon loops.

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