Intestinal population dynamics of UTI-causing Escherichia coli within heterosexual couples

Amee R. Manges, James R. Johnson, Lee W. Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


From October 1999 to July 2001, a prospective cohort study was conducted to assess the intestinal Escherichia coli population dynamics of 23 sexually active couples. We tested the hypothesis that intestinal persistence and predominance of specific E. coli strains, co-colonization of sex partners with the same E. coli strain, and the intestinal diversity of fecal E. coli, contribute to recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI). E. coli isolates causing UTI, asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU), or intestinal co-colonization were evaluated by ERIC2 PCR and compared with strains recovered exclusively from stool samples with respect to intestinal persistence, predominance, and diversity. Contrary to our hypothesis, UTI-causing strains exhibited similar levels of intestinal persistence and predominance as did fecal strains, and UTI episodes were not associated with shifts in fecal E. coli diversity. In contrast, intestinal co-colonization strains exhibited greater persistence and predominance than did fecal strains and were more likely to cause ABU, and co- colonization episodes were associated with significantly increased fecal E. coli diversity. Nonetheless, intestinal co-colonization strains were not associated with UTI. These findings suggest that E. coli strains involved in co-colonization may be more important contributors to intestinal E. coli dynamics than to UTI pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent issues in intestinal microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2004


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