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Microbios. 1994;77(311):95-100.

Rochalimaea henselae organisms possess an elevated capacity of binding to peripheral blood lymphocytes from patients with cat scratch disease.

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Clinica Pediatrica I, University of Bari Medical Faculty, Italy.


Cat scratch disease (CSD) is a clinical condition whose aetiological agent, according to recent findings, is of bacterial origin. Two Gram-negative bacteria are invoked as causative agents of CSD, namely Afipia felis and Rochalimaea henselae. In this paper, five patients with suspected CSD were studied in terms of binding capacity of A. felis and R. henselae to their own peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL). This parameter was correlated with serum antibody titres to both A. felis and R. henselae, as determined by an indirect fluorescence assay (IFA). Results demonstrate that in four out of five cases binding of R. henselae to PBL was higher than that observed with A. felis. In two cases serum antibody titres to both bacteria were lower or absent, while in the other two patients serum antibody titres to R. henselae were significantly high. In one case only, characterized by elevated titres of serum antibodies to A. felis, values of cytoadherence exhibited by this bacterium were similar to those observed with R. henselae. The results suggest that bacterial binding to lymphocytes may represent an additional parameter to support diagnosis of CSD.

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