Production of pyrogenic exotoxin by groups of streptococci: association with group A

J Infect Dis. 1979 Nov;140(5):676-81. doi: 10.1093/infdis/140.5.676.


Several groups of streptococci were tested for production of pyrogenic exotoxins (SPE) with Ouchterlony immunodiffusion, a newly developed passive hemagglutination inhibition assay, and an assay for pyrogenicity and capacity to enhance lethal endotoxin shock. With use of these assays, 68 (91%) of 75 group A streptococcal strains were positive for one or more of SPE types A, B, and C; seven were negative for both the known SPE types and antigenically unrelated pyrogenic exotoxins. Group A strains producing both SPE B and C were the most common, and strains producing A alone or AB and AC together were the least common. All of 11 rheumatogenic group A streptococci elaborated SPE C either alone or together with one or both of SPE types A and B. The 10 nephritogenic strains tested were positive for SPE B; five were positive for B alone. In contrast to group A streptococci, non-group A strains (41 tested) did not produce the known SPE types, and 19 of 19 tested were negative for antigenically unrelated pyrogenic exotoxins. Group A strains from Holland, India, and Japan also elaborated SPE. Several group A streptococci used widely in laboratory experiments were tested for SPE types produced.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiomyopathies / chemically induced
  • Exotoxins / biosynthesis*
  • Exotoxins / pharmacology
  • Hemagglutination Inhibition Tests
  • Humans
  • Nephritis / chemically induced
  • Pyrogens / biosynthesis*
  • Pyrogens / pharmacology
  • Rabbits
  • Rheumatic Diseases / chemically induced
  • Shock, Septic / chemically induced
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / immunology
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / immunology*


  • Exotoxins
  • Pyrogens