The pathogenicity of oral bacteria was studied by measuring the development of subcutaneous abscesses in mice after infection with and either singly or as co-aggregated pairs. Heat-treated cells were also tested. The pathogenicity of the co-aggregates was examined in various viable and heat-treated combinations of the two bacterial species. More abscesses were formed by than at all the bacterial concentrations tested. Also, abscess formation by co-aggregates of the two strains produced a higher percentage of abscess formation than those caused by infection with pure suspensions of or Co-aggregated cells were more resistant to phagocytosis and killing by neutrophils and Furthermore, in co-aggregates were resistant to killing after engulfment by neutrophils. These results suggest that oral bacteria that are able to co-aggregate may resist phagocytosis, and this ability may be linked with pathogenicity.


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