[en] Clostridium perfringens has been implicated in a broad array of enteric infections including the fatal haemorrhagic enteritis/enterotoxaemia syndrome in cattle. The beta2 toxin (CPB2), encoded by cpb2, is suspected to be implicated in this syndrome. However, among C. perfringens isolates from cattle suspected of clostridial disease, an atypical allele was recently found to predominate at the cpb2 locus and atypical corresponding CPB2 proteins were shown to be poorly expressed, thus arguing against a biologically significant role of the beta2 toxin in clostridial diseases in cattle. This study compared genotype and phenotype of the beta2 toxin between C. perfringens isolates from a group of healthy calves (n = 14, 87 isolates) and from a group of enterotoxaemic calves (n = 8,41 isolates). PCR results revealed the exclusive presence of the typical "consensus" cpb2 in the enterotoxaernic group. Western blot analysis demonstrated that the typical variant of CPB2 was often expressed in isolates from enterotoxaemic calves (43.9%) and infrequently in isolates from healthy cattle (6.9%). These data suggest that the typical variant of the CPB2 toxin may play a role in the pathogenesis of cattle enterotoxaemia. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.