We investigated the ability of a high virulence (STR 357) and a low virulence (STR 598) strain of Streptococcus gallolyticus to attach to the intestinal tract of pigeons. For that purpose, first of all, two groups of six pigeons were anesthetized and ligatures were placed at the beginning of duodenum, jejunum, ileum, and colon. The obtained intestinal loops of the birds of the first and second group were injected with S. gallolyticus strains STR 357 and STR 598, respectively. At 15, 30, and 60 min postinoculation, two pigeons of each group were euthanatized and the various intestinal loops were sampled for histologic, immunohistochemical, and electron microscopic examination. Both the high and low virulence strains were able to adhere to the intestinal mucosa. Indeed, all samples clearly showed numerous coccal-shaped bacteria that stained positively with S. gallolyticus antiserum and were lining up against the intestinal epithelium. Likewise, on electron microscopic examination, cocci were seen in the mucus covering the intestinal epithelium. Second, the association of S. gallolyticus strains of differing virulence with the intestinal tissue was determined quantitatively. Experiments were performed as described above. The number of S. gallolyticus bacteria that adhered to the intestinal epithelium was determined by plating out 10-fold serial dilutions of the segments. No significant differences in the number of adhered bacteria were found between the strains of high and low virulence.
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Vol. 47 • No. 3