SUMMARY: Attempts to study quantitatively the phagocytosis of gonococci from urethral pus failed because of the small numbers of organisms and technical difficulties. However, gonococci from chambers implanted subcutaneously in guinea pigs, which were similar to gonococci from urethral pus in their resistance to killing by human serum, were obtained in sufficient quantities for comparison in phagocytosis tests with the grown strain from which they were derived.

Microscopic and viable counts of gonococci in phagocytes showed that grown organisms (strain ) were readily phagocytosed by human polymorphonuclear phagocytes. There was little difference between organisms and the grown organisms (strain ) in resistance to ingestion. There was, however, a marked difference in the intracellular survival of strains and during the first hour of phagocytosis. Whereas organisms survived well, many organisms were killed. Subsequently, strain and the survivors of the strain inoculum responded similarly to the intracellular bactericidins. These results were supported by electron microscopy of infected phagocytes.

Resistance of gonococci to ingestion and digestion by human phagocytes seem to be important facets of the pathogenesis of gonorrhoea.


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