Reproduction of porcine proliferative enteropathy with pure cultures of ileal symbiont intracellularis

S McOrist, S Jasni, R A Mackie, N MacIntyre, N Neef, G H Lawson

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Porcine proliferative enteropathy is consistently associated with the presence of intracellular curved bacteria in epithelial cells in affected portions of intestine. Two strains of these intracellular bacteria were cultured in a cell culture system with rat enterocytes (IEC-18) and passaged several times and used as oral inocula for 14 gnotobiotic and 8 conventional pigs. DNA and immunological studies had identified these bacteria as belonging to a new taxon, Ileal symbiont (IS) intracellularis. Conventional pigs dosed with approximately 3.7 x 10(6) of these organisms passaged six times in cell culture developed severe lesions of proliferative enteropathy in the ileum. Other conventional pigs dosed with a lower titer or with organisms passaged 13 times developed moderate and minor lesions, respectively. All gnotobiotic pigs dosed with organisms failed to develop lesions. Control pigs, eight conventional and two gnotobiotic, dosed with diluent, uninfected cell material or left undosed failed to develop lesions also. Reisolation of IS intracellularis and demonstration of the organism in mucosal and fecal samples only occurred in conventional pigs dosed with organisms. Gnotobiotic pigs lacking a normal intestinal flora have not been shown to be colonized by the organism. Seroconversion to IS intracellularis or mucosal infiltration by inflammatory cells was not observed in experimentally affected pigs, confirming the weak immune response characteristic of the natural disease. These results support the identification of IS intracellularis as an etiological agent of proliferative enteropathy in pigs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4286-92
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1993


  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Intestinal Diseases
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases


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