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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2003 Aug;85(6):918-21.

Intracellular Staphylococcus aureus. A mechanism for the indolence of osteomyelitis.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery,Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston Salem, North Carolina 27103, USA.


Staphylococcus aureus is the bacterial pathogen which is responsible for approximately 80% of all cases of human osteomyelitis. It can invade and remain within osteoblasts. The fate of intracellular Staph. aureus after the death of the osteoblast has not been documented. We exposed human osteoblasts to Staph. aureus. After infection, the osteoblasts were either lysed with Triton X-100 or trypsinised. The bacteria released from both the trypsinised and lysed osteoblasts were cultured and counted. Colonies of the recovered bacteria were then introduced to additional cultures of human osteoblasts. The number of intracellular Staph. aureus recovered from the two techniques was equivalent. Staph. aureus recovered from time zero and 24 hours after infection, followed by lysis/trypsinisation, were capable of invading a second culture of human osteoblasts. Our findings indicate that dead or dying osteoblasts are capable of releasing viable Staph. aureus and that Staph. aureus released from dying or dead osteoblasts is capable of reinfecting human osteoblasts in culture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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