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Children with the Le(a+b-) blood group have increased susceptibility to diarrhea caused by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli expressing colonization factor I group fimbriae.

Journal article
Authors Tanvir Ahmed
Anna Lundgren
Mohammad Arifuzzaman
Firdausi Qadri
Susann Teneberg
Ann-Mari Svennerholm
Published in Infection and immunity
Volume 77
Issue 5
Pages 2059-64
ISSN 1098-5522
Publication year 2009
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages 2059-64
Language en
Keywords Adult, Bangladesh, Child, Preschool, Diarrhea, epidemiology, microbiology, Disease Susceptibility, Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, isolation & purification, Escherichia coli Infections, epidemiology, microbiology, Female, Fimbriae Proteins, biosynthesis, Humans, Incidence, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Lewis Blood-Group System, Young Adult
Subject categories Microbiology in the medical area


Recent studies have shown that children with blood group A have increased susceptibility to enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) diarrhea and that Lewis blood group "a" antigen (Le(a)) may be a candidate receptor for ETEC colonization factor (CF) antigen I (CFA/I) fimbriae. Based on these findings, we have attempted to determine if children with the Le(a+b-) phenotype may be more susceptible to diarrhea caused by ETEC, in particular ETEC expressing CFA/I and related fimbriae of the CFA/I group, than Le(a-b+) children. To test this hypothesis, we have determined the Lewis antigen expression in 179 Bangladeshi children from a prospective birth cohort study in urban Dhaka in which ETEC expressing major CFs such as CFA/I, CS3, CS5, and CS6 was the most commonly isolated diarrhea pathogen during the first 2 years of life. The Lewis blood group phenotypes were determined by a dot blot immunoassay using saliva samples and by a tube agglutination test using fresh red blood cells. The results indicate that Le(a+b-) children more often had symptomatic than asymptomatic ETEC infections (P < 0.001), whereas symptomatic and asymptomatic ETEC infections were equally frequent in Le(a-b+) children. We also show that children with the Le(a+b-) blood type had significantly higher incidences of diarrhea caused by ETEC expressing fimbriae of the CFA/I group than Le(a-b+) children (P < 0.001). In contrast, we did not find any association between the Lewis blood group phenotype and diarrhea caused by ETEC expressing CS6 or rotavirus.

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