Pathogenic E coli have adhesive properties which are mirrored by an increase in their surface hydrophobicity. E coli isolated from patients with ulcerative colitis possess a mannose resistant adhesin similar to that found in pathogenic E coli. In this study 42 E coli isolates from patients with colitis have been compared with 15 from controls to assess hydrophobicity and cellular adherence. The salting out method and the buccal epithelial cell technique were used respectively. E coli isolated from colitics are significantly more hydrophobic than control E coli (p less than 0.001). The salting out score correlates negatively with the buccal epithelial cell adhesion index. When E coli are grown at 18 degrees C both properties are temporarily reduced suggesting that they are related to each other. The salting out method clearly differentiates between E coli isolated from colitics and controls, and offers a simple method of detecting adhesive E coli in inflammatory bowel disease.
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