F18(+) Escherichia coli have the ability to colonize the gut and cause oedema disease or post-weaning diarrhoea by adhering to specific F18 receptors (F18R) on the porcine epithelium. Although it is well established that a DNA polymorphism on base pair 307 of the FUT1 gene, encoding an alpha(1,2)fucosyltransferase, accounts for the F18R phenotype, the F18R nature is not elucidated yet. The aim of the present study was to investigate the correlation between the presence of H-2 histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs) or its derivative A-2 HBGAs on the porcine gut epithelium and F18(+) E. coli adherence. A significant positive correlation was found between expression of both the H-2 (r = 0.586, P < 0.01) and A-2 (r = 0.775, P < 0.01) HBGAs and F18(+) E. coli adherence after examination of 74 pigs aged from 0 to 23 weeks. The majority of the genetically resistant pigs (FUT1M307(A/A)) showed no HBGA expression (91.7%) and no F18(+) E. coli adherence (83.3%). In addition, it was found that F18R expression levels rise with increasing age during the first 3 weeks after birth and that F18R expression is maintained in older pigs (3-23 weeks old). Taken together, these data suggest that, apart from H-2 HBGAs, A-2 HBGAs might be involved in F18(+) E. coli adherence. (c) 2007 Elsevier V.B. All rights reserved.