Summary: In a reassessment of previous tests for intracellular survival, results have been confirmed and additional evidence obtained indicating that some gonococci can survive and multiply in human phagocytes. Use was made of the ability of penicillin to penetrate phagocytes and to kill only actively growing organisms. In microscopic counts on 33 urethral exudate smears, an average of 49 % of gonococci were associated with polymorphonuclear phagocytes. The organisms were unevenly distributed amongst the phagocytes, with most cells uninfected and some containing large numbers. Many phagocytes also remained uninfected in tests with low gonococcal inocula although experiments with large inocula showed that most phagocytes could ingest gonococci. It is proposed that ingestion of one gonococcus may stimulate the phagocytes to take up more. Phagocytes were killed and disintegrated after ingesting large numbers of gonococci and a similar effect may be responsible for the large clumps of organisms seen in urethral exudate. These results underline the probable importance in the pathogenesis of gonorrhoea of intracellular survival in phagocytes.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Most cited this month Most Cited RSS feed

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error