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Assay method for Vibrio cholerae and Escherichia coli enterotoxins by automated counting of floating chinese hamster ovary cells in culture medium.

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  • Research Article


As Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells on plastic proliferate, many cells float off into the medium instead of piling up after they form a monolayer. Fewer cells were floating in the medium when CHO cells were incubated with cholera toxin at a concentration as low as 10 pg/ml. The toxin increased the adhesiveness of the cells forming confluent monolayers so that the floating cells accumulated on the adherent monolayers. On the basis of this finding, a simple, quantitative assay method for cholera and Escherichia coli enterotoxins was devised by cultivating CHO cells in a Linbro multidish and counting the cells in the medium with a Coulter Counter. The method was sensitive enough to detect toxins in 100- to 200-fold-diluted culture media of toxigenic E. coli strains. Little or no activity was detected by this method in the culture medium of nontoxigenic E. coli.

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