Virulence of Streptococcus suis type 2 strains in newborn germfree pigs depends on phenotype

U. Vecht*, H.J. Wisselink, J.E. Van Dijk, H.E. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


To determine whether the virulence of Streptococcus suis type 2 is associated with the phenotype of the strain, we infected newborn germfree pigs with 10 strains of S. suis type 2 categorized by three phenotypes. In an earlier study, the phenotypes were distinguished by the presence or absence of the muramidase-released protein (MRP) and an extracellular factor (EF) and were designated MRP + EF +, MRP+ EF- and MRP - EF -. Pigs were first inoculated with Bordetella bronchiseptica to predispose them to infection and were then intranasally inoculated with the streptococci. Strains of the MRP+ EF + phenotype induced fever and increased the number of polymorphonuclear leukocytes in blood. Specific clinical signs of disease such as nervous disorders and lameness were also observed. At necropsy bacteriologic and pathologic examination disclosed meningoencephalitis, polyserositis, and polyarthritis. Strains of the MRP + EF- phenotype induced only nonspecific clinical signs of disease such as recumbency, lack of appetite, and fever; only slight pathologic changes were detected in the serosae. The four strains of the MRP- EF- phenotype induced no signs of disease. These findings indicate that the 110-kDa EF and, to a lesser degree, the 136-kDa MRP may be associated with the virulence of the bacterium. The results demonstrated that S. suis type 2 strains producing both MRP and EF are pathogenic for pigs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-556
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1991

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