The kinetics of the appearance of intestinal lesions induced by orogastric inoculation of gnotobiotic mice with a lethal strain of (VPI) that produced toxins A and B and was studied and compared with the lesions induced by non-lethal strain 786 that produced toxins A and B but only toxin B in measurable amounts . Different portions of the intestine were removed 12, 20,26 and 30 h after inoculation and studied by scanning electronmicroscopy. The remaining portions were homogenised for enumeration of and quantification of toxin A by enzyme immunoassay and toxin B by cytotoxicity. The results showed that, following inoculation: (i) measurable amounts of both toxins were necessary to produce lesions; (ii) with strain VPI, the caecum and the colon were rapidly impaired and completely destroyed after 1 day, whereas the small intestine was damaged to a lesser extent; (iii) strain 786 did not cause mucosal damage but induced mucus-like or serum-like secretion and morphological changes in the caecal enterocytes only.


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