Four strains of isolated from children with inflammatory diarrhoea were assayed in the rabbit ileal loop model of infectious diarrhoea. All caused inflammatory reactions with severe macroscopic and microscopic damage in infected rabbit ileal tissue similar to that observed in the patients by endoscopy and histological analysis of colonic biopsies. Haemoglobin and other proteins were observed in loop fluids, consistent with leakage of serum from damaged mucosa. Loop fluids also contained significant bicarbonate concentrations, indicative of an active secretory component similar to that in control loops inoculated with cholera toxin. However, although three of the four clinical strains produced small amounts of a protein immunologically related to cholera toxin none such was detected in either tissues or fluids of infected ileal loops. We propose instead that host-derived mediators of secretion may be important in pathogenesis. A mutant strain of with impaired motility, obtained from the National Collection of Type Cultures, did not induce tissue damage or fluid secretion in rabbit ileal loops.


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