Intestinal Clostridium species lower host susceptibility to enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection

Yukako Koyanagi, Rie Suzuki, Kohei Ihara, Hikaru Miyagi, Hiroshi Isogai, Hiroshi Yoneyama, Emiko Isogai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Susceptibility to enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) infection varies among humans. The intestinal microbiota seems to play an essential role in host defense against EHEC; thus, we hypothesized that indigenous bacteria, such as Clostridium ramosum and Clostridium perfringens, could influence the susceptibility to EHEC infection. To evaluate the effect of indigenous bacteria on EHEC infection, germ-free mice were precolonized with each indigenous bacterium, and then infected with EHEC O157:H7. Precolonization with C. ramosum or C. perfringens completely prevented death from EHEC infection througout a test period. Precolonization with C. ramosum also reduced the level of secreted Shiga toxin (Stx) 2 and prevented histopathological changes in the kidneys in a similar way to precolonization with Bifidobacterium longum, which is used as a model for preventing EHEC infection. In contrast, the mice precolonized with C. perfringens showed mild renal injuries. When evaluated using an in vitro co-culturing system, again C. ramosum inhibited the growth and Stx production of EHEC more potently than C. perfringens. These results indicate that C. ramosum and C. perfringens suppressed EHEC infection; however, the extent of their preventive effects differed. Therefore, the susceptibility to EHEC infection and its severity can depend on the functional bacteria present in the intestinal microbiota of individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberftz036
JournalPathogens and Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 1


  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Clostridium ramosum
  • enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli
  • gnotobiotic mice
  • intestinal bacteria


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