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Tokai J Exp Clin Med. 1998 Dec;23(6):273-8.

Interactions of "Limax amoebae" and gram-negative bacteria: experimental studies and review of current problems.

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Department of Parasitology, Clinical Institute of Hygiene, University of Vienna, Austria.


Free-living amoebae can harbour bacteria inside their cysts giving them a microhabitat and protecting them from disinfectants. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential importance of "Limax amoebae" as vectors for environmental and nosocomial bacteria in a hospital. It was shown that free-living amoebae are ubiquitous in the investigated hospital, occur syntopically with facultative human pathogens (Comamonas acidovorans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and may serve as hosts not only for these but also for bacteria isolated from clinical specimens (Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa); temperature is apparently of crucial importance for the interactions between these microorganisms. Recent studies have shown that "Limax amoebae" apart from acting as protective hosts, may also play a role for the thermotolerance, invasiveness and antibiotic-resistance of bacteria. Considering also the reduced immune-status of many patients, this "symbiosis" of free-living amoebae and bacteria might still be of underestimated hospital-hygienic importance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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