Klebsiella oxytoca: opportunistic infections in laboratory rodents.

Document Type


Publication Date



Animals-Laboratory, Arvicolinae, DNA-Bacterial, Electrophoresis-Gel-Pulsed-Field, Histocytochemistry, Klebsiella, Klebsiella-Infections, Mice-Inbred-C3H, Opportunistic-Infections, Polymerase-Chain-Reaction, RNA-Ribosomal-16S, Rats-Inbred-Lew, Rodent-Diseases, Serotyping

First Page


Last Page


JAX Source

Lab Anim 2008 Jul; 42(3):369-75.


Opportunistic pathogens have become increasingly relevant as the causative agents of clinical disease and pathological lesions in laboratory animals. This study was conducted to evaluate the role of Klebsiella oxytoca as an opportunistic pathogen in laboratory rodents. Therefore, K. oxytoca-induced lesions were studied from 2004 to early 2006 in naturally infected rodent colonies maintained at The Jackson Laboratory (TJL), Bar Harbor, USA, the Animal Research Centre (Tierforschungszentrum, TFZ) of the University of Ulm, Germany and the Central Animal Facility (ZTM) of the Hannover Medical School, Germany. K. oxytoca infections were observed in substrains of C3H/HeJ mice, which carry the Tlr4(Lps-d) allele; in LEW.1AR1-iddm rats, the latter being prone to diabetes mellitus; in immunodeficient NMRI-Foxn1(nu) mice; and in mole voles, Ellobius lutescens. The main lesions observed were severe suppurative otitis media, urogenital tract infections and pneumonia. Bacteriological examination revealed K. oxytoca as monocultures in all cases. Clonality analysis performed on strains isolated at the ZTM and TFZ (serotyping, pulse field gel electrophoresis [PFGE], enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus (ERIC) polymerase chain reaction, sequencing of 16S rRNA and rpoB genes) revealed that the majority of bacteria belonged to two clones, one in each facility, expressing the capsule type K55 (ZTM) or K72 (TFZ). Two strains, one isolated at the ZTM and one at the TFZ, showed different PFGE and ERIC pattern than all other isolates and both expressed capsule type K35. In conclusion, K. oxytoca is an opportunistic pathogen capable of inducing pathological lesions in different rodent species.