Colonization, persistence, and tissue tropism of Escherichia coli O26 in conventionally reared weaned lambs
Aktan, I., La Ragione, R. M. and Woodward, M. J. (2007) Colonization, persistence, and tissue tropism of Escherichia coli O26 in conventionally reared weaned lambs. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 73 (3). pp. 691-698. ISSN 0099-2240
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1128/aem.01879-06
Escherichia coli O26 is recognized as an emerging pathogen associated with disease in both ruminants and humans. Compared to those of E. coli O157:117, the shedding pattern and location of E. coli O26 in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of ruminants are poorly understood. In the studies reported here, an stx-negative E. coli O26 strain of ovine origin was inoculated orally into 6-week-old lambs and the shedding pattern of the O26 strain was monitored by serial bacteriological examination of feces. The location of colonization in the GIT was examined at necropsy at two time points. The numbers of O26 organisms excreted in feces declined from approximately 10(7) to 10(4) CFU per gram of feces by day 7 and continued at this level for a further 3 weeks. Beyond day 30, excretion was from few animals, intermittent, and just above the detection limit. By day 38, all fecal samples were negative, but at necropsy, O26 organisms were recovered from the upper GIT, specifically the ileum. However, no attaching-effacing (AE) lesions were observed. To identify the location of E. coli O26 within the GIT early after inoculation, two lambs were examined postmortem, 4 days postinoculation. High numbers of O26 organisms were recovered from all GIT sites examined, and similar to 10(9) CFU were recovered from 1 gram of ileal tissue from one animal. Despite high numbers of O26 organisms, AE lesions were identified on the mucosa of the ascending colon of only one animal. These data indicate that E. coli O26 readily colonizes 6-week-old lambs, but the sparseness of AE lesions suggests that O26 is well adapted to this host, and mechanisms other than those dependent upon intimin may play a role in persistence.