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Carboxypeptidase B2 precursor (EC (Carboxypeptidase U) (CPU) (Plasma carboxypeptidase B) (pCPB) (Thrombin-activable fibrinolysis inhibitor) (TAFI)


Characterization of Clostridium perfringens in the feces of adult horses and foals with acute enterocolitis.

Up to 60% of cases of equine colitis have no known cause. To improve understanding of the causes of acute colitis in horses, we hypothesized that Clostridium perfringens producing enterotoxin (CPE) and/or beta2 toxin (CPB2) are common and important causes of severe colitis in horses and/or that C. perfringens producing an as-yet-undescribed cytotoxin may also cause colitis in horses. Fecal samples from 55 horses (43 adults, 12 foals) with clinical evidence of colitis were evaluated by culture for the presence of Clostridium difficile, C. perfringens, and Salmonella. Feces were also examined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for C. difficile A/B toxins and C. perfringens alpha toxin (CPA), beta2 toxin (CPB2), and enterotoxin (CPE). Five C. perfringens isolates per sample were genotyped for the following genes: cpa, cpb, cpb2 consensus, cpb2 atypical, cpe (enterotoxin), etx (epsilon toxin), itx (iota toxin), netB (necrotic enteritis toxin B), and tpeL (large C. perfringens cytotoxin). The supernatants of these isolates were also evaluated for toxicity for an equine cell line. All fecal samples were negative for Salmonella. Clostridium perfringens and C. difficile were isolated from 40% and 5.4% of samples, respectively. All fecal samples were negative for CPE. Clostridium perfringens CPA and CPB2 toxins were detected in 14.5% and 7.2% of fecal samples, respectively, all of which were culture-positive for C. perfringens. No isolates were cpe, etx, netB, or tpeL gene-positive. Atypical cpb2 and consensus cpb2 genes were identified in 15 (13.6%) and 4 (3.6%) of 110 isolates, respectively. All equine C. perfringens isolates showed far milder cytotoxicity effects than a CPB-producing positive control, although cpb2-positive isolates were slightly but significantly more cytotoxic than negative isolates. Based on this studied population, we were unable to confirm our hypothesis that CPE and CPB2-producing C. perfringens are common in horses with colitis in Ontario and we failed to identify cytotoxic activity in vitro in the type A isolates recovered.

MeSH Terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Clostridium Infections
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Enterocolitis
  • Feces
  • Horse Diseases
  • Horses