chapter  5
20 Pages

The Rabbit Model of Escherichia Coli (Strain Rdec-1) Diarrhea

WithJ. Robert Cantey

Escherichia coli strain Rabbit Model of Escherichia coli (RDEC-1) was originally isolated in the laboratory in 1976 from a postweanling rabbit with diarrhea. Sporadic diarrhea had been noted prior to that time among rabbits purchased from a local rabbitry. The RDEC-1 bacterium is species specific and does not colonize or cause diarrhea in guinea pigs or rats. The chapter examines the number of bacteria in the gut lumen of rabbits postinoculation with the RDEC-1 bacterium. The protection that follows RDEC-1 colonization is striking. Technical difficulties when using the rat and the desirability of testing a rabbit specific strain in the rabbit, led us to develop a rabbit jejunal perfusion assay. Fluorescent, light, and electron microscopic histopathological studies have provided the bulk of current knowledge of the pathogenesis of RDEC-1 diarrhea. The pathogenesis of the diarrhea caused by the RDEC-1 strain of E. coli is unique among diarrheal diseases and among infectious diseases.