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Res Vet Sci. 1988 Jan;44(1):68-70.

Influence of Clostridium perfringens and its toxin in germ-free chickens.

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Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture, University of Osaka Prefecture, Japan.


Twenty-one of 56 germ-free chickens died after receiving an oral inoculation of a broth culture of Clostridium perfringens. At necropsy there was detachment and disruption of the epithelial layer at the tips of villi and sloughed epithelial cells in the duodenum. These are characteristic lesions of necrotic enteritis. Germ-free chickens receiving either purified alpha-toxin or the supernatant of broth cultures of C perfringens died, but no bird died after receiving supernatant of broth cultures neutralised by anti-alpha-toxin serum. It was concluded that alpha-toxin of C perfringens was the cause of death in young germ-free chickens.

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