Detection of intracellular bacterial communities in a child with Escherichia coli recurrent urinary tract infections

Pathog Dis. 2013 Aug;68(3):78-81. doi: 10.1111/2049-632X.12047. Epub 2013 Jun 26.


The formation of intracellular bacterial communities (IBC) has been proposed as a new pathogenic model for urinary tract infections. Scarce reports describe this phenomenon in humans. We describe the presence of IBC in uroepithelial cells of a child with recurrent urinary infections. Urine specimen was collected from a child with Escherichia coli UTI and analyzed by light and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). The capability of this strain to produce intracellular infection in bladder tissue was confirmed in mice models. Escherichia coli phylogenetic group, presence of virulence factors genes, and its multiple locus sequence type were determined. CLSM showed large collections of morphologically coccoid and rod bacteria in eukaryotic cells cytoplasm, even seemingly protruding from the cells. Escherichia coli EC7U, ST3626, harbored type 1, P, and S/F1C fimbriae and K1 capsule genes. In this report, we confirm the presence of IBC in children with UTI, as it has been described before in women.

Keywords: Escherichia coli; UPEC; UTI; children; intracellular bacterial communities.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Child
  • Cytoplasm / microbiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epithelial Cells / microbiology*
  • Escherichia coli / classification
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microscopy
  • Multilocus Sequence Typing
  • Phylogeny
  • Recurrence
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology*
  • Urine / cytology
  • Urine / microbiology
  • Virulence Factors / genetics


  • Virulence Factors