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Effects of heat stress on the antimicrobial drug resistance of Escherichia coli of the intestinal flora of swine

Moro, M.H., Beran, G.W., Griffith, R.W., Hoffman, L.J.
Journal of applied microbiology 2000 v.88 no.5 pp. 836-844
Escherichia coli, amikacin, ampicillin, antibiotic resistance, cecum, cephalothin, colon, digestive tract, duodenum, farms, feces, gastrointestinal transit, heat, heat stress, ileum, intestinal microorganisms, intramuscular injection, neomycin, neostigmine, peristalsis, rectum, slaughter, swine, tetracycline
The effects of heat stress on the antimicrobial drug resistance of Escherichia coli of the intestinal tract of swine were studied in animals from a farm that had not been supplementing antimicrobials in feed for the past 10 years. In one study, 10 finisher hogs were heat stressed (34 degrees C) for 24 h. Antimicrobial resistance levels after stress were significantly higher (P < 0.05) when compared with pre-stress levels for amikacin, ampicillin, cephalothin, neomycin and tetracycline from faecal samples. This high level of resistance persisted to slaughter that occurred at 10 days post-stress for most of the antimicrobials mentioned. In a second study, samples of different sections of the gastrointestinal tract were collected after heat stress and compared with control, non-stressed animals. Results indicated that E. coli which colonized the ileum and caecum had a higher level of resistance to ampicillin and tetracycline than the E. coli which colonized the colon and rectum. When animals were exposed to heat stress, resistance to ampicillin and tetracycline of E. coli in the lower digestive tract increased (P < 0.05) to a level similar to that observed in the ileum and caecum. Based on these findings, an investigation was made to test the hypothesis that (a) an increase in intestinal motility increases shedding of resistant E. coli and (b) heat stress induces a reduction in intestinal transit time in swine. For each study, two groups of three, randomly selected finisher hogs each were formed (treated and control groups). In study (a), induction of increased motility and peristalsis was obtained using an intramuscular injection of the cholinergic drug neostigmine methylsulphate. Escherichia coli isolates were obtained from the ileum, caecum, colon and rectum after animals were slaughtered. A higher level of ampicillin-resistant E. coli was found in the caecum (40%) than in other segments of the intestinal tract. In treated animals, levels of resistance increased for organisms from the colon and rectum. Similar results were obtained for tetracycline resistance. In study (b), intestinal transit time was measured using chromium-EDTA as a marker. Swine were euthanized and samples were collected throughout the intestinal tract (duodenum to rectum) 8 h after administration of the marker to control and heat-stressed animals. Results indicated a reduced transit time for the stressed group. These findings corroborate the initial hypothesis that an outflow of resistant organisms moves from the upper tract (ileum and caecum) to the lower tract (colon and rectum).