Increased Escherichia coli enterotoxin detection after concentrating culture supernatants: possible new enterotoxin detectable in dogs but not in infant mice
The heat-stable enterotoxin (ST) of Escherichia coli can be detected by infant mouse or dog intestinal loop tests. These tests differ in that the dog assay uses concentrated culture supernatants and is based on measurements of net intestinal absorption, whereas the mouse test uses unconcentrated supernatants and depends on gross fluid accumulation. To compare the relative sensitivities of these assays, culture supernatants of randomly selected E. coli isolates from 34 Bangalee diarrhea patients were tested for ST in dog loops and infant mice. Supernatants were also tested for heat-labile enterotoxin (LT) in dog loops, Y-1 adrenal cells, and Chinese hamster ovary cells. E. coli supernatants that produced positive responses for both ST and LT in the dog loop assay (ST+/LT+) also produced positive responses when tested for ST in infant mice and for LT in cell lines. Supernatants of strains negative for ST and LT in dog loop (ST-/LT) were also negative in other assays. Of 10 strains positive for just ST in the dog loop test (ST+/LT-), only 5 were ST positive in the standard infant mouse test. Supernatants of the other five strains (dog loop positive, mouse test negative) were then concentrated 100-fold and retested in mice. Three of these five gave consistently positive results after concentration, and two were only intermittently positive. Concentrated supernatants of negative control strains (ST-/LT-) were all negative in mice. The dog assay detects more strains producing ST than the infant mouse test. The infant mouse test, which detects only gross fluid accumulation, failed to detect approximately half of the 10 strains which produced ST alone (ST+/LT-; P = 0.025). Concentrating supernatants for the mouse assay increases sensitivity for detection of ST, but certain E. coli strains produce a variety of ST to which infant mice do not respond.
J Clin Microbiol 1978 Dec;8(6):700-3