SUMMARY. The adhesion of leptospires ( serovar. copenhageni L45) to mouse L-cells was studied by microscopic observations. Within 3 h of infection of monolayers many leptospires adhered to 95-100% of the cells, and intracellular leptospires were demonstrated by electron microscopy. No specific site of attachment on the cells or the leptospires was observed. Avirulent or dead leptospires adhered poorly but attachment of the saprophytic leptospire serovar. occurred on cell and glass surfaces. After adhesion, microvilli on the cell surfaces disappeared within 6 h of infection and cell damage was observed after 12 h. The adhesion was greatly enhanced by the presence of specific antiserum at a subagglu-tinating concentration. No direct penetration by leptospires of the host cells was observed with transmission and scanning electron microscopy. It appears that (1) adhesion of leptospires to L-cells precedes cell damage, and (2) leptospires may enter cells either through damaged membranes, or by a phagocytosis-like mechanism.


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