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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 6, Issue 3, Pages 136-140
Original Article

Immune Response to Verotoxin 1 and 2 in Children with Escherichia Coli O157:H7 Hemorrhagic Colitis and Classic Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

François Proulx,1 Jean P Turgeon,1 Gilles Delage,1 Hermy Lior,2 Lucette Lafleur,1 and Luc Chicoine1

1Departments of Pediatrics, Microbiology and Immunology, Hôpital Sainte–Justine, Université de Montréal, Canada
2National Centre for Enteric Bacteriology, Laboratory Centre for Disease Control, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Received 22 August 1994; Accepted 13 February 1995

Copyright © 1995 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives: To compare neutralizing antibody titres against verotoxin (vt)-1 and vt-2 between children with uncomplicated hemorrhagic colitis (hc) and those with classic hemolytic uremic syndrome (hus). vt antibody titres were also compared in children with hc who received trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole with those who did not.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: Tertiary pediatric hospital.

Population Studied: Children with hc (n=41) or classic hus (n=12).

Interventions: Serum antibodies against vt-1 and vt-2 were determined by quantitative neutralization.

Main Results: Antibodies were detected in 40% (21 of 53) of serum samples for vt-1 and in 100% (53 of 53) of samples for vt-2. A positive immune response, defined as a fourfold increase in vt antibody titres or as a single titre of 1/64 or greater, was found in 0% (0 of 12) of patients with hus compared with 7% (three of 41) of those with hc for vt-1 (P=0.4); and in 17% (two of 12) of patients with hus compared with 22% (nine of 41) of those with hc for vt-2 (P=0.3). The rate of seroconversion against either vt-1 or vt-2 was comparable in treated and untreated patients with uncomplicated hc.

Conclusions: There was no evidence that neutralizing antibody levels against vt-1 or vt-2 in classic hus or after antibiotic therapy are substantially different from those in patients with uncomplicated hc.