Production of an enterotoxin by a gastro-enteritis-associated Aeromonas strain
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The potential of motile Aeromonas species to cause human gastrointestinal infections has been recognised recently. Considerable worldwide epidemiological, microbiological and clinical investigations have shown that some strains of the different motile aeromonads are of increasing enteropathogenic significance, especially in children, the elderly and in immunocompromised individuals. Some of the diarrhoeal symptoms of Aeromonas-associated gastro-enteritis have been attributed to enterotoxins. In this study, 15 Aeromonas isolates from clinical and non-clinical sources, representing the three motile aeromonads commonly associated with gastro-enteritis (A. caviae, A. hydrophila and A. veronii biovar sobria), were tested for their ability to cause fluid accumulation in infant mice by the suckling mouse technique. Eight isolates were found to produce enterotoxin. Of these, an A. veronii biovar sobria strain (AS15), isolated from lamb kidney, was found to produce the highest enterotoxin score. An enterotoxin of c. 40 kDa produced by A. veronii biovar sobria AS15 was purified by Sephacryl S-100 gel filtration and high-performance liquid chromatography. This enterotoxin caused marked fluid accumulation in infant mice by the suckling mouse technique. The purified enterotoxin cross-reacted with cholera toxin antibodies and was readily inactivated by heating at 56°C for 10 min. The production of a `cholera-like' enterotoxin by Aeromonas isolates from samples of animal origin suggests that these organisms could be of public health significance in food products.
Journal of Medical Microbiology