FRANCHI Ana Maria
Intraperitoneal administration of shiga toxin type 2 in rats in the late stage of pregnancy produces premature delivery of dead fetuses.
BURDET, JULIANA; ZOTTA, ELSA; FRANCHI, ANA MARIA; IBARRA, CRISTINA
Año: 2009 vol. 30 p. 491 - 496
Infection associated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and subsequent Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome (HUS) have become relevant in public health since STEC is considered as one of the most important emergent pathogens. STEC infection may either be asymptomatic or begin with watery diarrhea associated with hemorrhagic colitis and HUS. The major virulence factor of STEC is Shiga toxin type 1 or 2 (Stx1, Stx2) although strains that express only Stx2 are highly prevalent. Up to now, it has not been established whether STEC infection affect pregnant women. In this study, we evaluated the effect of Stx2 on maternal lethality, fetal status and delivery time by injecting Stx2 in rats in the late stage of pregnancy. Stx2 induced fetal resorption, placental abruption, intrauterine hemorrhage and fetal death at 1-2 days post-injection in a dose-dependent manner. With 2ng Stx2/g body weight, placentas and fetuses presented extensive necrotic areas, while uteri and kidneys showed normal histology. Immunolocalization of Stx2 was observed in placentas and fetuses. With 4 and 6ng Stx2/g body weight maternal death was also observed. Those rats that survived after Stx2-treatment were able to become pregnant and deliver normal pups at term. Our results show, for the first time, that the preterm labor with fetal death observed in treated rats may be a consequence of the action of Stx2 on the feto-maternal unit. Although there are no reports of Stx2 effects in human pregnancy, we speculate that STEC infections could be one of the causes not yet determined of fetal morbimortality.