The distribution and density of Clostridium difficile toxin receptors on the intestinal mucosa of neonatal pigs

Michael K Keel, J. Glenn Songer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Clostridium difficile is an enteric pathogen affecting a variety of mammals, but it has only recently been diagnosed as a cause of neonatal typhlocolitis in pigs. The most important virulence factors of C. difficile are 2 large exotoxins, toxin A (TcdA) and toxin B (TcdB). TcdA is a potent enterotoxin with effects on host tissues that are dependent upon receptor-mediated endocytosis of the intact toxin. TcdB is an effective cytotoxin, but it apparently does not bind receptors on intact mucosal epithelium. TcdB is much less toxic in vivo unless there is underlying damage to the mucosa, and it is not essential for the virulence of C. difficile. One hypothesis to explain the resistance of most species as neonates (e.g., humans and hamsters) is that they may lack significant numbers of TcdA receptors. The susceptibility of neonatal pigs suggests cells of the gastrointestinal mucosa express sufficient numbers of toxin receptors for lesion development. Immunohistochemical (IHC) assays documented specific binding of TcdA, but not TcdB, to the epithelium of the small and large intestine. The carbohydrate Galα1-3β1-4GlcNAc-R has been described as an important receptor for TcdA. However, IHC indicated a distribution on cell surfaces much different from that of TcdA binding, suggesting a specific interaction of toxin with an alternative receptor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)814-822
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Pathology
Volume44
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alpha-galactosyl
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Hamsters
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Pigs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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