SUMMARY: The toxicity of gonococci [strain BS4 (agar)] for human peripheral blood polymorphonuclear phagocytes, infected was assessed by light microscopic examination of Giemsa stained cell deposits of polymorphonuclear phagocytes which had ingested these bacteria. The cytotoxicity elicited by viable gonococci, assessed by percentage lysis and concomitant reduction in the number of polymorphonuclear phagocytes increased as the ratio of gonococci to phagocytes in the original suspension mixture was raised. Pretreatment of viable gonococci with antiserum raised to whole organisms increased the cytotoxic effect produced by the organisms. Killed (heat or UV irradiation) gonococci caused little or no cytotoxicity, even when the organisms were pretreated with specific antiserum. Hence, the lysis of polymorphonuclear phagocytes appears to be caused by a factor or factors produced by viable gonococci and not by LPS .


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