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Int J Med Microbiol. 2000 Jul;290(3):259-67.

Interaction of alveolar macrophages with Staphylococcus aureus and induction of microbial L-forms during infection in rats.

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Department of Morphology of Microorganisms, Institute of Microbiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia.


In vivo cell interactions between Staphylococcus aureus and rat alveolar macrophages were investigated after intranasal inoculation during a 30-days period of examination. Some dynamic characteristics of microorganisms in the macrophages were examined by electron microscopy and acid phosphatase cytochemistry. It was found that at earlier infection intervals (days 3 and 7) the ingested cocci were sequestered in phagosomes and phagolysosomes and later many of the microbial cells were digested. An interesting finding was the intracellular appearance of cell wall-defective forms (L-forms) of S. aureus at later intervals (days 14 and 30 after challenge). Infection kinetics were evaluated by isolation and enumeration of colony-forming units of S. aureus from bronchoalveolar fluid and by assessment of blood and bronchoalveolar total and differential leukocyte counts. The results indicate that induction and survival of S. aureus L-forms may occur spontaneously in vivo. This phenomenon could explain some of the mechanisms, provoking the latent and relapsing lung infections.

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