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Vet Microbiol. 1995 Jul;45(2-3):157-69.

Intracellular survival and multiplication of virulent and less virulent strains of Streptococcus bovis in pigeon macrophages.

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Laboratory of Veterinary Bacteriology and Mycology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Gent, Belgium.


The intracellular fate of pigeon S. bovis strains ingested by macrophages was studied in vivo and in vitro. During in vivo experiments, histological and electron microscopical examinations demonstrated numerous cocci, which appeared to be actively multiplying, within splenic macrophages of pigeons experimentally inoculated with a highly virulent S. bovis serotype 1 strain. In pigeons inoculated with a low virulence serotype 3 strain, intracellular cocci were only occasionally observed. For in vitro experiments, pigeon peritoneal macrophages were inoculated with a S. bovis serotype 1 or serotype 3 strain and incubated. Following an initial decrease, an increase in the number of intracellular bacteria was observed in tests performed with the S. bovis serotype 1 strain, demonstrating intracellular multiplication. Macrophages in these experiments had all died after 7 h of incubation, possibly indicating that the intracellular replication of S. bovis resulted in the release of substances toxic for macrophages. In experiments performed with the S. bovis serotype 3 strain, the number of intracellular bacteria continuously decreased, reflecting killing of organisms. Significant changes in the number of adhering macrophages in S. bovis serotype 3 inoculated cultures were not observed. These results indicate S. bovis in pigeons is a facultative intracellular bacterium and intracellular multiplication may be involved in virulence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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