Role of coresistance in the development of resistance to chloramphenicol in Escherichia coli isolated from sick cattle and pigs

Am J Vet Res. 2006 Feb;67(2):230-5. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.67.2.230.


Objective: To determine the cause of persistent resistance to chloramphenicol (CP) after the ban on its use in food-producing animals in several countries.

Sample population: 71 CP-resistant and 104 CP-susceptible Escherichia coli strains isolated from sick cattle and pigs in Japan.

Procedure: Susceptibility of all bacterial strains to thiamphenicol (TP) and florfenicol (FFC) was tested by use of an agar dilution method. The CP-resistance genes and variable region within class 1 integrons in CP-resistant strains were identified by use of a PCR assay.

Results: The CP acetyltransferase gene (ie, cat1) was identified as the predominant CP-resistance gene in strains isolated from cattle, and the cat1and nonenzymatic CP-resistance gene (ie, cmlA) were the predominant CP-resistance genes in strains isolated from pigs. Additionally, strains with cat1 isolated from cattle often were resistant to ampicillin, dihydrostreptomycin (DSM), oxytetracycline, and trimethoprim (TMP), whereas strains with cat1 or cmlA isolated from pigs often were resistant to DSM and TMP. Class 1 integrons were significantly more prevalent in strains with CP-resistance genes, compared with prevalence in strains without CP-resistance genes. All gene cassettes within the integrons were involved in resistance to DSM, TMP, or both.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Coresistance that develops because of the use of DSM and TMP in cattle and pigs apparently contributes to the selection of CP-resistant strains of E coli. Thus, it is possible that bacterial resistance to CP in animals would persist despite a ban on the use of CP in cattle and pigs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology*
  • Chloramphenicol / pharmacology*
  • Chloramphenicol Resistance / genetics
  • Chloramphenicol Resistance / physiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / veterinary*
  • Integrons
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Legislation, Drug
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / epidemiology
  • Swine Diseases / microbiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Chloramphenicol