Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) is a gram positive spore-forming anaerobic bacterium, which was first described in the mid-1930s and was later linked to cases of pseudomembranous colitis. Further studies have shown that C.difficile is predominantly associated with cases of infectious diarrhoea in patients that have been treated with antibiotics (antibiotic-associated diarrhoea AAD), or have disrupted commensal gastrointestinal flora. C.difficile infection can cause severe disease and death in a significant number of cases and is recognised as a leading cause of severe gastrointestinal disease and AAD in hospitalised patients (Voth, DE). The severity of the disease in each case is determined by the virulence of the C.difficile strain, the condition of the patient’s normal gut flora and the individual’s immune response to intestinal damage.

C.difficile spores are found in soil, human and animal faeces, and some processed meats and can be transmitted from one individual to another through contact with contaminated surfaces. Toxins A and B have been identified as major C. difficile virulence factors, which are encoded by the tcdA and tcdB genes respectively. Both toxin A and toxin B have proinflammatory and cytotoxic activity, which causes disruption to the intestinal epithelium leading to extensive damage and cell death in the large intestine (Carter, GP).

In recent years the emergence of a hypervirulent strain of C.difficile BI/NAP1/027 has caused an new epidemic of C.difficile in the developed world and has raised significant concern within the global health care community. In addition to increased rates of mortality, BI/BAP1/07 has been reported in individuals previously considered to be low-risk, including outbreaks in peripartum women and health-care workers (Ghose, C). Treatment for cases of C.difficile is currently antibiotic-based therapy but this can be problematic due to antibiotic resistance. There is no effective licensed vaccine for the prophylactic treatment of C.difficile but significant advances are being made in this area.

Our highly purified Clostridium difficile Toxin preparations come in a variety of ribotypes and are suitable for numerous assays including cytoxicity. They are available in a range of pack sizes and all come lyophilised for ease of storage and use. Our toxoids are prepared from the formaldehyde treatment of the toxins and are suitable as an immunogen and in clinical diagnostics assays.

 

References

  1. Voth, DE et al. (2005). Clostridium difficile Toxins: Mechanism of Action and Role in Disease. Clin Microbiol Rev.18(2): 247–263.
  2. Carter, GP et al (2010). The role of toxin A and toxin B in Clostridium difficile-associated disease. Past and present perspectives. Gut Microbes.1(1): 58–64.
  3. Ghose, C. (2013). Clostridium difficile infection in the twenty-first century. Emerg Microbes Infect.2(9): e62.

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