Epithelial cell lines from several tissues show a differential sensitivity to Pseudomonas aeruginosa adherence. A549 (lung), HepG2 (liver) and Caco-2 (colon) cells presented an adhesion index of about 3, 1.5 and 5 CFU/cell, respectively, whereas Mz-Ch cell lines (gallbladder cholangiocytes) presented adhesion indexes up to 35. These variations could be associated with the variable amount of sialic acid in cell surface glycoconjugates. Moreover, the presence of free sialic acid in culture media induces the secretion by P. aeruginosa of a sialidase which is able to hydrolyze glycoconjugate-linked sialic acid. As shown with A549 cells, this specific hydrolysis increases bacterial adhesion, probably by unmasking new binding sites onto the cell surface.