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J Appl Bacteriol. 1994 Aug;77(2):215-20.

The effect of Lactobacillus spp. on the attachment of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli to isolated porcine enterocytes.

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Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, UK.


A total of 43 strains of lactobacilli were isolated from the gastrointestinal tract of piglets at the time of weaning. Isolates, grown on solid media, were allocated to strongly adherent or non/weakly adherent groups on the basis of numbers attaching to isolated porcine enterocytes. Strains of Lactobacillus fermentum were disproportionally represented amongst the strongly-adherent strains and Lact. acidophilus and Lact. salivarius amongst the non/weakly-adherent group. Lactobacilli showed significantly better attachment ability when grown on agar than when grown in broth culture. Strongly adherent strains were not found to effect the attachment of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli to porcine enterocytes, tested under the conditions of exclusion (lactobacilli added to the enterocytes before E. coli), competition (lactobacilli and E. coli added simultaneously) and displacement (E. coli added before lactobacilli). Tests were made with [14C]-labelled E. coli. Suspensions of bacteria and enterocytes were passed through a filter selected to retain enterocytes but pass free bacterial cells. Counts (dpm) obtained from filters after solubilization were taken as a measure of E. coli attachment. Some strains of lactobacilli coaggregated with enterotoxigenic E. coli with K88 fimbriae, but not with a K88-negative mutants strain. These were excluded from the competitive exclusion experiments. In the apparent absence of a direct effect on the association of E. coli with host tissue, removal of potential gut pathogens by aggregation could contribute to the probiotic properties ascribed to lactic acid bacteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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