Enteroaggregative E. coli (EAggEC) are emerging as an important cause of persistent diarrhea, especially in children in the developing world, yet the pathogenesis of EAggEC infection is poorly understood. In an ongoing prospective study of childhood diarrhea in an urban Brazilian slum, EAggEC are the leading cause of persistent diarrhea. Children from this study with EAggEC and persistent diarrhea had significant elevations in fecal lactoferrin, interleukin (IL)-8, and IL-1beta. Moreover, children with EAggEC without diarrhea had elevated fecal lactoferrin and IL-1beta concentrations. The children with EAggEC in their stool had significant growth impairment after their positive culture, regardless of the presence or absence of diarrhea. Finally, 2 EAggEC strains were shown to cause IL-8 release from Caco-2 cells, apparently via a novel heat-stable, high-molecular-weight protein. These findings suggest that EAggEC may contribute to childhood malnutrition, trigger intestinal inflammation in vivo, and induce IL-8 secretion in vitro.