Send to

Choose Destination
Microb Pathog. 1995 Jan;18(1):37-51.

Serum bactericidal activity and phagocytosis in host defence against Haemophilus ducreyi.

Author information

Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.


Serum bactericidal activity and phagocytic killing are two important mechanisms involved in the host defence against bacteria. Using some in vitro methods, serum bactericidal assay, phagocytic killing by polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) and chemiluminescence, we have evaluated the significance of these mechanisms in the killing of Haemophilus ducreyi bacteria. Furthermore, induction of C3 conversion and deposition of immunoglobulins, C1q and C3, on the surface of bacteria was studied by crossed immunoelectrophoresis and ELISA, respectively. Transmission electron microscopy was employed to study internalization of bacteria by PMN. H. ducreyi and lipooligosaccharide preparations from these bacteria were able to induce conversion of complement factor C3 in normal human serum (NHS). Exposure of bacteria to NHS resulted in deposition of IgG, IgM and complement factors C1q and C3 on the surface of bacteria. H. ducreyi bacteria lost their viability when incubated with fresh but not inactivated normal serum at high concentrations, indicating that the bacteria are sensitive to the complement-dependent bactericidal activity of serum. There were some variations between different strains regarding their susceptibility to the bactericidal activity of NHS, but for eight strains tested, all of the bacteria exposed were not killed in medium containing up to 70% of fresh serum. Complement-mediated opsonophagocytic killing of H. ducreyi by PMN was more effective than complement-dependent bactericidal activity of fresh normal sera. Bacteria treated with heat inactivated immune sera, on the other hand, were as sensitive to the bactericidal effect of PMN as those treated with non-inactivated immune sera, indicating the role of antibodies in opsonophagocytosis. H. ducreyi bacteria were also killed by PMN in the absence of serum antibodies and complement. Using the chemiluminescence assay, H. ducreyi was shown to activate PMN in the absence of serum as well as after opsonization with complement and antibodies. Our results therefore indicate that both opsonic- and non-opsonic mechanisms are involved in the phagocytosis and the subsequent killing of H. ducreyi bacteria. Although both complement and antibodies enhance the ability of phagocytes to kill H. ducreyi, neither component is sufficient for effective killing of H. ducreyi.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center