Effect of Simulated Stages of the Canine Oestrous Cycle on Escherichia coli Binding to Canine Endometrium


Author's, address (for correspondence): Natali Krekeler, Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Melbourne, 250 Princes Highway, Werribee 3030, Victoria, Australia. E-mail: krekeler@unimelb.edu.au


Pyometra, a prevalent infectious uterine disease that affects intact middle-aged bitches, is typically associated with Escherichia coli. Our hypotheses were (i) that bacterial adhesion to canine endometrium differs between different stages of the oestrous cycle and (ii) that the adhesin FimH facilitates this adhesion. Twelve post-pubertal, ovariectomized greyhound bitches were treated with exogenous hormones to simulate different stages of the oestrous cycle. Tissue samples from each uterus were incubated with a pathogenic E. coli strain carrying the fimH gene, but no other adhesin genes (P4-wt)–or an E. coli strain in which fimH was insertionally inactivated (P4-∆fimH::kan)–or with phosphate-buffered saline as a negative control. After washing, tissue samples were homogenized for quantification of adherent bacteria. The differences in binding to canine endometrium at different stages of the oestrous cycle were not significant. However, the mean difference in binding of the P4-wt and the P4-∆fimH::kan across all stages of the simulated oestrous cycle was significant (p < 0.001 by paired t-test on geometric means). Individual differences in numbers of P4-wt bacteria bound between dogs might suggest genetic variations or epigenetic differences in FimH receptor expression by the endometrium, unrelated to the stage of the oestrous cycle.