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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 1999 Apr;23(2):99-129.

Molecular determinants of the pathogenesis of disease due to non-typable Haemophilus influenzae.

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Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Non-typable Haemophilus influenzae is a common commensal organism in the human upper respiratory tract and an important cause of localized respiratory tract disease. The pathogenesis of disease begins with bacterial colonization of the nasopharynx, a process that involves establishment on the mucosal surface and evasion of local immune mechanisms. Under the proper circumstances, the organism spreads contiguously to the middle ear, the sinuses, or the lungs, and then stimulates a brisk inflammatory response, producing symptomatic infection. In this review, we summarize our present understanding of the molecular determinants of this sequence of events. Continued investigation of the molecular mechanism of non-typable H. influenzae pathogenicity should facilitate development of novel approaches to the treatment and prevention of H. influenzae disease.

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