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Microb Pathog. 1994 Mar;16(3):243-7.

Haemophilus ducreyi adheres to human keratinocytes.

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Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo.


Haemophilus ducreyi, Moraxella catarrhalis and a non-piliated Escherichia coli K-12 strain were studied for their ability to bind to human keratinocytes in vitro. Epidermal cells isolated from neonatal foreskins were grown to confluence in serum-free keratinocyte media. Probing of the monolayers with anti-cytokeratin antibody showed that 97% of cells were keratinocytes. Bacteria were grown to mid-log phase and seeded onto the monolayers. At various time-points monolayers were washed with PBS to remove non-adherent bacteria, and the monolayers were quantitatively cultured. After 120 min, 15 to 23% of the H. ducreyi inocula bound to the monolayer, while less than 1% of the M. catarrhalis or E. coli controls bound. Wet mounts of fixed monolayers observed with differential interference contrast microscopy confirmed the quantitative data. We conclude that H. ducreyi binds to keratinocytes and that this process may play a role in the initiation of chancroid.

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