Survival of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae in macrophages

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2001 Sep 11;203(1):55-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2001.tb10820.x.


In this study we have investigated the ability of nonencapsulated, nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae, NT477 to survive in the J774 mouse macrophage-like cell line. Viable, intracellular nontypeable H. influenzae could still be recovered from macrophages 72 h after phagocytosis. In contrast, H. influenzae strain Rd, an avirulent, nonencapsulated variant of a serotype d strain, was killed within 24 h. These differences suggest that NT477, in comparison to Rd, possesses unique attributes that enable it to survive in macrophages for prolonged periods. To determine whether this trait is ubiquitous amongst nontypeable H. influenzae, 33 primary clinical isolates obtained from children with otitis media were screened for their ability to survive in macrophages. Of these isolates, 82% were able to persist in an intracellular environment for periods of at least 24 h. The number of viable organisms recovered at this time ranged from 2x10(4) to 50 colony-forming units per strain indicating that the extent to which nontypeable H. influenzae can resist macrophage-mediated killing varies between strains.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Child
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Haemophilus Infections / microbiology*
  • Haemophilus influenzae / genetics*
  • Haemophilus influenzae / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / microbiology*
  • Mice
  • Otitis Media / microbiology*
  • Phagocytosis
  • Time Factors