Eukaryotic tissue culture appears to be a suitable model for measuring the bacterial cytotoxic effect. Propionibacterium acnes strains were isolated from corneal tissue removed by keratoplastic surgery from patients with corneal dystrophy or bullous keratopathy. The cytotoxic effect of the filtrates of 10 P. acnes strains were studied by means of measuring the decrease of the mitochondrial dehydrogenase activities of viable epithelial (HeLa) and fibroblastic (BHK-21) cell cultures. A time and concentration dependent, reversible cytotoxic effect was detected in both tissue types. The results also showed that strains of P. acnes are capable of surviving anaerobic conditions for as long as 8 months and suggest that production cytotoxic effects during the long persistence it may harm human tissue.