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Semin Respir Infect. 2000 Mar;15(1):41-51.

Haemophilus influenzae in chronic bronchitis.

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Department of Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, NY, USA.


Colonization of the adult respiratory tract with nontypable Haemophilus influenzae is a dynamic process with new strains being acquired and replacing old strains periodically. The organism is a common cause of exacerbations of chronic bronchitis based on 3 lines of evidence: quantitative culture of the lower airways obtained by protected specimen brush, antibiotic trials, and serological studies. Nontypable H. influenzae expresses multiple adhesin molecules that mediate adherence to the respiratory tract mucosa. Recent studies have established that the bacterium penetrates the mucosal surface and survives intracellularly and in the interstitium of the submucosa. The organism shows a remarkable degree of antigenic diversity on its surface, including phase variation of lipooligosaccharide, antigenic heterogeneity of surface proteins, point mutations in genes encoding surface proteins and horizontal transfer of genes. These strategies facilitate evasion of the human immune response. Substantial progress has been made in identifying vaccine antigens to prevent infections caused by nontypable H. influenzae.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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