Patterns of adherence of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli to HEp-2 cells

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1987 Sep;6(9):829-31. doi: 10.1097/00006454-198709000-00008.


A total of 516 Escherichia coli strains randomly isolated from coprocultures of 154 Chilean children with diarrhea and 66 controls were examined with DNA probes and tested for adherence to HEp-2 cells. Three adherence patterns were distinguished, localized, true diffuse and "aggregative." Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) were detected by EPEC adherence factor probe among 86 of the 372 isolates (23%) from patients with diarrhea vs. 14 of 144 (10%) strains from controls (P less than 0.0002). Of 95 strains that manifested localized adherence, 97% were EPEC adherence factor probe-positive; thus the HEp-2 assay may serve as an alternative to the probe in identifying EPEC adherence factor-positive EPEC. True diffuse adherence was not associated with diarrhea. In contrast the aggregative pattern appears to signify a new, distinct class of diarrheagenic E. coli (enteroadherent-aggregative E. coli). The aggregative pattern was found in only 3 of 27 enterotoxigenic, 0 of 4 enteroinvasive, 0 of 2 enterohemorrhagic and 2 of 86 EPEC strains but in 84 of 253 probe-negative strains (P less than 0.00001) from patients with diarrhea; in comparison only 20 of 134 probe-negative strains from controls were aggregative E. coli (P less than 0.00001 vs. probe-negative strains from diarrhea patients).

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Cell Line
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diarrhea / microbiology*
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / microbiology*
  • Escherichia coli / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant