Orthokeratinised mucosa from the dorsal surface of neonatal rat tongue was maintained in culture and then infected with or for up to 45 h. The five species showed varying abilities to invade the tissues, which appeared to reflect their different pathogenicities. was the only species able to invade all the tissues present, including the stratum corneum. and C. were able to invade connective tissue and the deeper nucleated cells of the epithelium but failed to penetrate the keratin layer, while and showed only slight invasion of the connective tissue. The keratin layer of rat tongue mucosa thus appeared to act as a barrier to invasion of the epithelium by anything but virulent species of candidal fungi.

The results suggest that oral mucosa retains its structural integrity and that the tissues do not act solely as a passive growth medium through which any fungal strain might proliferate. It seems that this in-vitro system is representative of the in-vivo situation and forms a useful experimental model in which to investigate the host-fungal relationship in mucosal candidiasis.


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