Table of Contents
Microorganisms, Volume 6, Issue 4 (December 2018)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) STEC is a foodborne pathogen transmitted mainly by undercooked meat, contaminated fruits, [...] Read more. STEC is a foodborne pathogen transmitted mainly by undercooked meat, contaminated fruits, vegetables, and water, but also the person to person route has been recently highlighted. Shiga toxin (Stx) is the main virulence factor of STEC and is responsible for developing a systemic complication known as Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), characterized by hemolytic anemia thrombocytopenia and acute renal failure. STEC can produce Stx type 1 and/or 2 (Stx1, Stx2) and their variants, with Stx2 being more frequently associated with severe cases of HUS. Some experimental data suggest that Stx2 may impair pregnancy. We have proposed that symptomatic or asymptomatic STEC infections during early or late human pregnancy may cause maternal or fetal damage mediated by Stx2. In this article, we provide a brief overview of Stx2 action on placental tissues and discuss whether they might cause pregnancy loss or preterm birth, and what mechanisms could be involved in the aforementioned detrimental effects.