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Improved porcine model for Shiga toxin‐producing Escherichia coli infection by deprivation of colostrum feeding in newborn piglets

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Porcine edema disease (ED) is a toxemia caused by enteric infection with Shiga toxin 2e (Stx2e)‐producing Escherichia coli (STEC). ED occurs most frequently during the weaning period and is manifested as emaciation associated with high mortality. In our experimental infection with a specific STEC strain, we failed to cause the suppression of weight gain in piglets, which is a typical symptom of ED, in two consecutive experiments. Therefore, we examined the effects of deprivation of colostrum on the sensitivity of newborn piglets to STEC infection. Neonatal pigs were categorized into two groups: one fed artificial milk instead of colostrum in the first 24 h after birth and then returned to the care of their mother, the other breastfed by a surrogate mother until weaning. The oral challenge with 1011 colony‐forming units of virulent STEC strain on days 25, 26 and 27 caused suppression of weight gain and other ED symptoms in both groups, suggesting that colostrum deprivation from piglets was effective in enhancing susceptibility to STEC. Two successive STEC infection experiments using colostrum‐deprived piglets reproduced this result, leading us to conclude that this improved ED piglet model is more sensitive to STEC infection than the previously established models.
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Keywords: Shiga toxin 2e–producing Escherichia coli; Stx2e; colostrum deprivation; infection model; porcine edema disease

Document Type: Rapid Communication

Publication date: May 1, 2017

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