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Infect Immun. 1983 September; 41(3): 1340–1351.
PMCID: PMC264644

Attaching and effacing activities of rabbit and human enteropathogenic Escherichia coli in pig and rabbit intestines.


Three strains of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), originally isolated from humans and previously shown to cause diarrhea in human volunteers by unknown mechanisms, and one rabbit EPEC strain were shown to attach intimately to and efface microvilli and cytoplasm from intestinal epithelial cells in both the pig and rabbit intestine. The attaching and effacing activities of these EPEC were demonstrable by light microscopic examination of routine histological sections and by transmission electron microscopy. It was suggested that intact colostrum-deprived newborn pigs and ligated intestinal loops in pigs and rabbits may be useful systems to detect EPEC that have attaching and effacing activities and for studying the pathogenesis of such infections. The lesions (attachment and effacement) produced by EPEC in these systems were multifocal, with considerable animal-to-animal variation in response to the same strain of EPEC. The EPEC strains also varied in the frequency and extent of lesion production. For example, three human EPEC strains usually caused extensive lesions in rabbit intestinal loops, whereas two other human EPEC strains usually did not produce lesions in this system.

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