The detection of Shiga toxins in the kidney of a patient with hemolytic uremic syndrome

Pediatr Res. 1999 Jan;45(1):133-7. doi: 10.1203/00006450-199901000-00022.


Infection of Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli induces hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in 10 to 15% of cases in infants and young children. Although the endothelial cell damage induced by Stx is widely believed to be a primary event of renal dysfunction in HUS, the precise mechanism remains to be elucidated. We were able to examine the kidney obtained at autopsy of a child who died after HUS associated with Stx-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection, and immunohistochemistry indicated the deposition of Stxl and Stx2 in a portion of the distal tubular epithelia. To our knowledge, this is the first report to show the presence of Stx in human tissue of a patient with HUS, and the results obtained in this study provide evidence that Stx indeed migrates into the kidney and binds to renal tubules during Stx-producing Escherichia coli infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Toxins / analysis*
  • Bacterial Toxins / biosynthesis
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infant
  • Kidney / chemistry*
  • Shiga Toxins


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Shiga Toxins