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Laryngoscope. 1997 May;107(5):640-7.

Intracellular reservoir of Streptococcus pyogenes in vivo: a possible explanation for recurrent pharyngotonsillitis.

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1
Department of Clinical Microbiology, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.

Abstract

Numerous theories have been presented that attempt to explain the frequent recurrences of pharyngotonsillitis caused by Streptococcus pyogenes; these recurrences occur after seemingly adequate antibiotic treatment. We previously have demonstrated that Spyogenes can survive for up to 7 days intracellularly in immortalized human respiratory epithelial cells grown in an antibiotic supplemented medium. Viable S pyogenes were externalized and established an extracellular infection, whenever the extracellular antibiotic was removed. We have investigated the presence of intracellular S pyogenes in two in vivo studies using respiratory epithelial cells collected from patients with tonsillitis and the tonsils of asymptomatic carriers. Electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry demonstrated intracellular S pyogenes in pharyngeal epithelial cells in 13 of 14 patients with tonsillitis (93%). Furthermore, intracellular S pyogenes were found in macrophage-like cells in eight (73%) and in epithelial cells in four (36%) tonsils from 11 asymptomatic S pyogenes carriers. These in vivo data strongly support the hypothesis that intracellular S pyogenes can constitute a reservoir of bacteria with the potential to cause reinfections.

PMID:
9149167
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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