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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26526. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026526. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Specific egg yolk immunoglobulin as a new preventive approach for Shiga-toxin-mediated diseases.

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Microbiology, Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, Gifu Pharmaceutical University, Gifu, Japan.


Shiga toxins (Stxs) are involved in the development of severe systemic complications associated with enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) infection. Various neutralizing agents against Stxs are under investigation for management of EHEC infection. In this study, we immunized chickens with formalin-inactivated Stx-1 or Stx-2, and obtained immunoglobulin Y (IgY) from the egg yolk. Anti-Stx-1 IgY and anti-Stx-2 IgY recognized the corresponding Stx A subunit and polymeric but not monomeric B subunit. Anti-Stx-1 IgY and anti-Stx-2 IgY suppressed the cytotoxicity of Stx-1 and Stx-2 to HeLa 229 cells, without cross-suppressive activity. The suppressive activity of these IgY was abrogated by pre-incubation with the corresponding recombinant B subunit, which suggests that the antibodies directed to the polymeric B subunits were predominantly involved in the suppression. In vivo, the intraperitoneal or intravenous administration of these IgY rescued mice from death caused by intraperitoneal injection of the corresponding toxin at a lethal dose. Moreover, oral administration of anti-Stx-2 IgY reduced the mortality of mice infected intestinally with EHEC O157:H7. Our results therefore suggest that anti-Stx IgY antibodies may be considered as preventive agents for Stx-mediated diseases in EHEC infection.

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