In vitro effects of Clostridium perfringens type D epsilon toxin on water and ion transport in ovine and caprine intestine

M. E. Fernandez Miyakawa, C. A. Ibarra, Francisco A Uzal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Clostridium perfringens type D produces enterotoxaemia in sheep, goats and other animals. The disease is caused by C. perfringens epsilon toxin, and while enterotoxaemia in goats is usually characterized by enterocolitis, the disease in sheep is characterized by systemic lesions (such as lung and brain oedema) with minor and inconsistent changes observed in the intestine. A possible explanation for these differences is that epsilon toxin is more promptly absorbed by sheep than goat intestine. In an attempt to clarify this, we examined the in vitro effects of epsilon toxin on sheep and goat intestine. Pieces of intestinal mucosa from recently slaughtered animals were mounted in a modified Ussing-type chamber where net water flux (Jw), short-circuit current (Isc) and tissue conductance (Gt) were simultaneously recorded. After 70min of incubation with epsilon toxin a reduction in absorptive Jw and an increase in Isc and Gt were observed in colonic tissues of both sheep and goats, but no alterations were registered in the ileum of either species. These in vitro results show that epsilon toxin affects the transport function of the colonic mucosa but it does not seem to produce any transport alteration in the ileum mucosa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-149
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2003



  • Enterotoxaemia
  • Epsilon toxin
  • Intestine
  • Ion transport
  • Water transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases

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