Differences between Danish bovine and human Staphylococcus aureus isolates in possession of superantigens

Helle D. Larsen, Anna Huda, Niels H. R. Eriksen, Niels Einar Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


PCR-assays for the detection of staphylococcal enterotoxins A-E, and H, toxic shock toxin 1, and exfoliative toxins A and B were evaluated against phenotypic methods, and performed well. Four hundred and fourteen isolates of Staphylococcus aureus from Danish cases of bovine mastitis were screened for genes encoding these superantigens. One hundred isolates from Danish human carriers were also included in the study. In contrast to the frequent presence of genes encoding and in vitro expression of superantigens among the human carrier isolates, only one of 414 isolates from bovine mastitis carried the genes encoding enterotoxin C and toxic shock toxin-l. These results further support the hypothesis that the bovine and human S. aureus reservoirs constitute two separate subpopulations of the species S. aureus. The results also show that these superantigens are generally not present in Danish S. aureus isolates from bovine mastitis, and thus play no essential role in the pathogenesis of bovine S. aureus mastitis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)153-162
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • exfoliative toxin
  • virulence factor
  • mastitis
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • PCR
  • toxic shock toxin
  • enterotoxin


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