Clostridium perfringens type D epsilon toxin (ETX) is responsible for a severe and frequently fatal neurologic disorder in ruminant livestock. Light microscopic, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural studies have suggested that ETX injury to the cerebral microvasculature, with subsequent severe, generalized vasogenic edema and increased intracranial pressure, is critically important in producing neurologic dysfunction. However, the effect of ETX on brain capillary endothelial cells in vitro has not been examined previously, to our knowledge. We exposed a well-characterized human blood–brain barrier cell line to increasing concentrations of ETX, and demonstrated a direct and dose-dependent endotheliotoxic effect. Our findings are concordant with the primacy of vasculocentric brain lesions in the diagnosis of acute epsilon toxin enterotoxemia in ruminant livestock.
- cerebral microvascular endothelium
- clostridial epsilon toxin
- dose-dependent injury
- in vitro
ASJC Scopus subject areas