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J Infect Dis. 1996 Feb;173(2):394-402.

Haemophilus ducreyi elicits a cutaneous infiltrate of CD4 cells during experimental human infection.

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Department of Medicine, Indiana University, Indianapolis, USA.


Human subjects were experimentally infected with Haemophilus ducreyi for up to 2 weeks. Bacterial suspensions were delivered into the epidermis and dermis through puncture wounds made by an allergy-testing device. Subjects developed papular lesions that evolved into pustules resembling natural disease. Some papular lesions resolved spontaneously, indicating that host responses may clear infection. Bacteria were shed intermittently from lesions, suggesting that H. ducreyi may be transmissible before ulceration. Host responses to infection consisted primarily of cutaneous infiltrate of polymorphonuclear leukocytes, Langerhans cells, macrophages, and CD4 T cells of alpha beta lineage. Expression of HLA-DR by keratinocytes was associated with the presence of interferon-gamma mRNA in the skin. There was little evidence for humoral or peripheral blood mononuclear cell responses to bacterial antigens. The cutaneous infiltrate of CD4 cells and macrophages provides a mechanism that facilitates transmission of human immunodeficiency virus by H. ducreyi.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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