Recent Advances in Understanding the Pathogenesis of Lawsonia intracellularis Infections

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Proliferative enteropathy is an infectious disease caused by an obligate intracellular bacterium, Lawsonia intracellularis, and characterized by thickening of the intestinal epithelium due to enterocyte proliferation. The disease is endemic in swine herds and has been occasionally reported in various other species. Furthermore, outbreaks among foals began to be reported on breeding farms worldwide within the past 5 years. Cell proliferation is directly associated with bacterial infection and replication in the intestinal epithelium. As a result, mild to severe diarrhea is the major clinical sign described in infected animals. The dynamics of L. intracellularis infection in vitro and in vivo have been well characterized, but little is known about the genetic basis for the pathogenesis or ecology of this organism. The present review focuses on the recent advances regarding the pathogenesis and host-pathogen interaction of L. intracellularis infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-477
Number of pages13
JournalVeterinary pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Lawsonia intracellularis
  • equine proliferative enteropathy (EPE)
  • horses
  • obligate intracellular bacterium
  • pathogenesis
  • pigs
  • porcine proliferative enteropathy (PPE)
  • proliferative enteropathy


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