Isolation of Clostridium difficile from the feces and the antibody in sera of young and elderly adults

Microbiol Immunol. 1981;25(4):345-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1348-0421.1981.tb00036.x.


Attempts were made to isolate Clostridium difficile from a total of 431 fecal specimens from 149 young and 213 elderly healthy adults, and 69 elderly adults with cerebrovascular disease but no gastrointestinal disease. C difficile was isolated from 49 specimens, and the frequency of isolation was 15.4% in healthy young adults, 7.0% in healthy elderly adults, and 15.9% in elderly adults with cerebrovascular disease. Thirty-four (about 70%) of the 49 C. difficile strains isolated produced cytotoxin which was neutralized by Clostridium sordellii antitoxin in vitro; in both young and elderly adults approximately 30% of the C. difficile isolates were nontoxigenic. The mean concentration of C. difficile in feces was 10(4.1)/g in young adults and 10(4.6)/g in elderly adults, with a range of 10(2.0) to 10(6.9)/g. Antibody against C. difficile toxin was found in most of the sera obtained from young adults carrying toxigenic C. difficile, but not in sera of elderly adults, no matter how abundant was toxigenic C. difficile in the feces.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies / isolation & purification*
  • Clostridium / isolation & purification*
  • Clostridium / pathogenicity
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged


  • Antibodies