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The significance of enteroaggregative Escherichia coli in the etiology of hospitalized diarrhoea in Calcutta, India and the demonstration of a new honey-combed pattern of aggregative adherence

Mousumi Paul, Teizo Tsukamoto, Asit R. Ghosh, S.K. Bhattacharya, B. Manna, S. Chakrabarti, G. Balakrish Nair, David A. Sack, Dipak Sen, Yoshifumi Takeda
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-6968.1994.tb06786.x 319-325 First published online: 1 April 1994


Previous studies have identified enteroadherent Escherichia coli that exhibit localized adherence, diffuse adherence and atypical diffuse adherence as diarrhoeagenic agents associated with infantile diarrhoea in Calcutta, India. In this study, a DNA probe specific for enteroaggregatove adherence was used to determine the etiological significance of enteroaggregative E. coli in the causation of diarrhoea. From a total of 330 strains of E. coli recovered from 159 cases of acute secretory diarrhoea and 174 cases of invasive diarrhoea, 20 strains hybridized with the probe, whereas of the 25 E. coli strains recovered from 25 healthy controls only 1 strain hybridized with the probe. Of the 21 probe positive strains, 19 adhered to HeLa cells in the typical stacked-brick pattern while 2 strains recovered from 2 cases of secretory diarrhoea adhered to the glass surface in a hitherto undescribed formation which we have termed, based on the appearance, as the honey-comb pattern. The enteroaggregative E. coli strains identified in this study did not produce any conventional enterotoxins and were significantly associated with patients with secretory diarrhoea (10.7%) than with invasive diarrhoea (1.7%). The results of this study indicate that enteroaggregative E. coli play a causal role in acute secretory diarrhoea in this part of the world which lends credence to the involvement of a potent toxin in the pathogenesis of EAggEC mediated infections.

Key words
  • Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli
  • Honey-comb pattern
  • DNA probe
  • Secretory diarrhoea