Vitamin A-deficient hosts become nonsymptomatic reservoirs of Escherichia coli-like enteric infections

Kaitlin L. McDaniel, Katherine H. Restori, Jeffery W. Dodds, Mary J. Kennett, A. Catharine Ross, Margherita T. Cantornaa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Vitamin A deficiency (A-) remains a public health concern in developing countries and is associated with increased susceptibility to infection. Citrobacter rodentium was used to model human Escherichia coli infections. A- mice developed a severe and lethal (40%) infection. Vitamin A-sufficient (A+) mice survived and cleared the infection by day 25. Retinoic acid treatment of A- mice at the peak of the infection eliminated C. rodentium within 16 days. Inflammation levels were not different between A+ and A- mouse colons, although the A- mice were still infected at day 37. Increased mortality of A- mice was not due to systemic cytokine production, an inability to clear systemic C. rodentium, or increased pathogenicity. Instead, A- mice developed a severe gut infection with most of the A- mice surviving and resolving inflammation but not eliminating the infection. Improvements in vitamin A status might decrease susceptibility to enteric pathogens and prevent potential carriers from spreading infection to susceptible populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2984-2991
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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