Chemical inhibition of the thyroid gland and its effects on E. coli O157:H7 fecal shedding patterns in sheep
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Due to the seasonal nature of E. coli O157:H7 shedding and of hormone production by the thyroid gland, two studies were initiated to determine whether chemical inhibition of the thyroid gland influences fecal shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7. Twenty-four crossbred sheep (68.6 kg BW) were randomly assigned to pen and either 0.0 mg/kg BW PTU or 20 mg/kg BW PTU for 5, 11, or 14 days. Sheep were experimentally infected (d 0) with E. coli O157:H7 11 days prior to PTU treatment. Fecal and serum samples were collected for bacterial enumeration and for analysis of T3 and T4, respectively. Sheep were humanely euthanized and tissue and content samples were collected from the rumen, ileum, colon and rectum. Detection of E. coli O157:H7 increased toward the terminal end of the GI tract. In the treatment group, serum T3 levels decreased to an overall lower level than the control group. A correlation was seen between T3 levels and daily O157:H7 bacterial shedding (P=0.003; r=0.37). In experiment 2, 12 growing lambs (41.04 kg BW) were exposed to either 0.0 mg/kg BW PTU or 40 mg/kg BW PTU for 21 days. Fecal samples were collected for analysis of generic E. coli and body weights were recorded on days 0, 7, 14, and 21. Feed intake was recorded throughout the experiment. Animals were experimentally infected with E. coli O157:H7 on day 15. Sheep were humanely euthanized on day 21 and GI tract tissue and content was collected from the rumen, ilium, colon and rectum. A date by treatment interaction was observed for T4 (P=0.0016) and hormone levels decreased in treated animals. Thyroxine and E. coli O157:H7 display a multivariate treatment (P=0.0005) and date effect (P=0.0174) but no significant interaction. Triiodothyronine and E. coli O157:H7 shedding have a slight date trend (P=0.065) but no significant treatment or treatment by date interaction. Generally, the treatment group shed genreric E. coli at higher levels throughout the study period with slightly more than a log count difference between groups at the last collection point (control = 3.8 CFU/gram of feces (log10); treatment = 4.9 CFU/gram of feces (log10)). Results from these experiments suggest that correlations exist between both E. coli O157:H7 and generic E. coli shedding in sheep.
Schroeder, Sasha Brooke (2005). Chemical inhibition of the thyroid gland and its effects on E. coli O157:H7 fecal shedding patterns in sheep. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from