Detection of Escherichia coli enterotoxins in stools

Michael H. Merson, Robert H. Yolken, R. Bradley Sack, Jean L. Froehlich, Harry B. Greenberg, Imdadul Huq, Robert W. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We determined whether enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli diarrhea could be diagnosed by direct examination of stools for heat-labile (LT) and heat-stable (ST) enterotoxins. The Y-1 adrenal cell and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) detected LT in 85 and 93%, respectively, of stool specimens obtained from adults with acute diarrhea from whom an LT- and ST-producing organism had been isolated. Furthermore, the ELISA assay detected LT in 8 of 35 stool specimens from which no LT-producing E. coli had been isolated. The infant mouse assay was utilized to detect ST in these stool specimens and was found to be an insensitive method, showing positive results in only 36% of the specimens from which an ST-producing organism was isolated. Further studies are warranted to determine the diagnostic value of direct detection of LT in stools, especially by the ELISA method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-113
Number of pages6
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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