Send to

Choose Destination
Microb Pathog. 1993 Jun;14(6):417-31.

Evidence of Haemophilus ducreyi adherence to and cytotoxin destruction of human epithelial cells.

Author information

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


The adherence of ten different Haemophilus ducreyi strains to cultured human epithelial cells and the subsequent destruction of these cells was investigated in vitro using HEp-2 and HeLa cells. Bacterial adherence was measured with two assays, one employing viable bacteria and the other radiolabeled bacteria. In addition, the capacity of H. ducreyi to invade/penetrate the HEp-2 cells was examined. Differential interference contrast and transmission electron microscopy techniques were also used. In both cell lines, all ten strains of H. ducreyi manifested substantial adherence (the rates being 4-20% of the inoculum), irrespective of whether the bacteria were cultivated on solid or liquid media. Bacterial adherence reached a peak after about 2-3 h of incubation, though it was already manifest after only 15 min, a finding suggesting constitutive rather than inducible properties of H. ducreyi adhesins to be involved. The adherence capacity was diminished, but not totally abolished, when bacteria were heat-treated at 100 degrees C for 30 min, indicating the adhesins to be fairly stable. On the other hand, treatment of HEp-2 cells with methanol, glutaraldehyde and emetine dichloride significantly reduced the adherence, indicating viable eukaryotic cells with native surface structures to be involved in bacterial adherence. This capacity of H. ducreyi to adhere to HEp-2 cells was confirmed both by electron microscopy and by differential interference microscopy. Some adherent bacteria were also capable of penetrating epithelial cells, as observed with an invasion assay and confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. Further incubation of the cell monolayers with the ten strains resulted in the cell-death and total damage of monolayers for seven cytotoxin-producing strains, indicating cytotoxin action to be responsible for the destruction of the monolayer. All strains manifested capacity to survive and multiply on the cell monolayer. We propose the first step in the pathogenesis of chancroid to be the adherence of bacteria to epithelial cells, followed by the action of cytotoxin and further bacterial proliferation. This sequence of events is suggested to result in the production of genital ulcers by H. ducreyi organisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center