Clostridium perfringens type A enterotoxin damages the rabbit colon

Jorge P. Garcia, Jihong Li, Archana Shrestha, John C. Freedman, Juliann Beingesser, Bruce A. McClane, Francisco A Uzal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin causes the gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms of C. perfringens type A food poisoning and CPE-associated non-food-borne human GI diseases. It is well established that CPE induces fluid accumulation and severe tissue damage in ligated small intestinal loops of rabbits and other animals. However, a previous study had also reported that CPE binds to rabbit colonic cells yet does not significantly affect rabbit colonic loops. To the contrary, the current study determined that treatment with 50 or 100 μg/ml of CPE causes significant histologic lesions and luminal fluid accumulation in rabbit colonic loops. Interestingly, a CPE-neutralizing monoclonal antibody blocked the development of CPE-induced histologic damage but not luminal fluid accumulation in these loops. Similar luminal fluid accumulation, without significant histologic damage, also occurred after treatment of colonic loops with heat-inactivated CPE, antibody alone, or bovine serum albumin (BSA), indicating that increased osmolarity was causing or contributing to fluid accumulation in CPE-treated colonic loops. Comparative studies revealed the similar development of histologic damage and luminal fluid accumulation in both small intestinal loops and colonic loops after as little as a 1-h treatment with 50 μg/ml of CPE. Consistent with the CPE sensitivity of the small intestine and colon, Western blotting detected CPE binding and large-complex formation in both organs. In addition, Western blotting demonstrated the presence of the high-affinity CPE receptors claudin-3 and -4 in both organs of rabbits, consistent with the observed toxin binding. Collectively, these results offer support for the possible involvement of the colon in CPE-mediated GI disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2211-2218
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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