Seventy-six Escherichia coli serotypes possessing the ipaH gene typical of enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC) strains were characterized. Biochemical identification of our strains shows positive reactions for lactose fermentation (100% of strains), lysine decarboxylase (98.7% of strains) and motility (67.1% of strains), properties that do not correspond with those described to the EIEC group. The serotypes agree with an initial classification. In this, some common O antigens identified among ipaH strains were O2 (n = 20), OR (n = 11) and non-determined O? (n = 10). The O2:NM serotype was the most common. Sixty-six percent (n = 50) of the ipaH E. coli strains were colicin producers, of them, 26 (34%) produced Col V and other colicins, 13 (17%) produced colicins other than Col V, and 11 (14.5%) produced Col V only. Trimethoprim/Sulfa (72%), ampicillin (64.5%), enrofloxacin (55.3%), and ciprofloxacin (47.4%) were the major antimicrobial resistance frequencies observed. Twenty-five different multiresistance patterns were observed, where sixty-six strains (86.8%) were included. A MIC test showed that most of the strains were sensitive to low gentamicin and kanamycin concentrations, whereas most of the strains were resistant to tetracycline. An invasiveness assay showed that the predominant alterations caused to HEp-2 cells were changes in shape and staining, and in most of the specimens, a partial monolayer detachment was also seen. Fifteen strains invaded more than 30% of the monolayer cells, causing the formation of intercellular bridges or filipoidal-like protrusions. The results suggest the existence of specific clone complexes derived from EIEC strains adapted to the avian host. To our knowledge, this is the first study that demonstrates the presence of extraintestinal invasive E. coli (ExIEC) strains.
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Vol. 49 • No. 3