What is the role of uropathogenic E coli (UPEC) in the pathogenesis of acute pyelonephritis (kidney infection)?

Updated: Jul 01, 2021
  • Author: Tibor Fulop, MD, PhD, FACP, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Most bacterial data are derived from research with Escherichia coli, which accounts for 70-90% of uncomplicated UTIs and 21-54% of complicated UTIs (ie, UTIs that are secondary to anatomic or functional abnormalities that impair urinary tract drainage; are associated with metabolic disorders; or involve unusual pathogens). A subset of E coli, the uropathogenic E coli (UPEC), also termed extraintestinal pathogenic E coli (ExPEC), accounts for most clinical isolates from UTIs.

UPEC derives commonly from the phylogenetic groups B2 and D, which express distinctive O, K, and H antigens. UPEC genes encode several postulated virulence factors (VFs), including adhesins, siderophores, protectins, and toxins, as well as having the metabolic advantage of synthesizing essential substances.

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