SUMMARY: Microdensitometry showed that the membrane profiles of normal cultivable mycobacteria were very asymmetric (outer layer denser and thicker than the inner layer), while the profiles of normal-looking in lepromatous patients, in experimentally infected armadillos and in nude mice were approximately symmetric; moreover, the membrane of was thicker than that of cultivable species. Using two cytochemical methods for the ultrastructural detection of periodic acid-Schiff (PAS)-positive molecules (the Thiéry procedure, and staining with phosphotungstic acid at low pH) we found that the membrane of cultivable mycobacteria, growing or , had PAS-positive components exclusively in the outer layer, while the normal-looking in patients and in armadillos had membranes with PAS-positive components in both layers. The membranes of damaged cultivable mycobacteria, or , and of damaged , in patients or armadillos, were PAS-negative.


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