Surface Hydrophobicity of “Rheumatogenic” and “nephritogenic” Strains of Group A Streptococci and The Ultrastructural Surface Feature of Pharyngeal Cells Exposed To Group A Streptococci

Krishnadas Subhadramma Nanda Kumar, Nirmal Kumar Ganguly, Inder Singh Anand, Purshotam Lal Wahi

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Abstract

The present study was carried out to determine the surface hydrophobicity of group A streptococcal strains responsible for rheumatic fever (RF), “rheumatogenic” strains (RG strains) and strains causing glomerulonephritis, “nephritogenic” strains (NG strains) in relation to their adhesion to human pharyngeal cells. Scanning electronmicroscopic (SEM) studies were carried out to the difference, if any, in the adherence of group A streptococci (M type 5) to pharyngeal and buccal cells (PEC and BEC). By employing two techniques for hydrophobicity determination, salt aggregation titre (SAT) and n-hexadecane binding technique, it was observed that RG strains (M5, Ml and M6) were more hydrophobic than NG strain, M49. However, NG strain M12 was almost equally as hydrophobic as RG strains. The adherence of RG strains, except Ml and M24, to PEC was greater in number than that of NG strains. Although Ml strain was hydrophobic, its adherence to PEC was less. Pepsin and trypsin treatment with streptococci reduced the hydrophobicity and adherence of RG and NG strains to PEC. SEM studies revealed firmly adhered indigenous bacteria on PEC and BEC. Streptococci (M5) adhered more to PEC than to BEC. SEM studies also showed that PEC had a peculiar ultrastructural surface feature to which streptococci adhered. These findings suggest that streptococcal hydrophobicity alone does not determine their adhesion to PEC. The surface nature of PEC might be a characteristic feature of the epithelial cells that allows streptococci to adhere and colonize or it might be a consequence of streptococcal adhesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1029-1040
Number of pages12
JournalMicrobiology and Immunology
Volume35
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1991

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