In a previous study, Haemophilus ducreyi was found in the pustule and dermis of samples obtained at the clinical end point in the human model of infection. To understand the kinetics of localization, we examined infected sites at 0, 24, and 48 h after inoculation and at the clinical end point. Immediately after inoculation, bacteria were found predominantly in the dermis but also in the epidermis. Few bacteria were detectable at 24 h; however, by 48 h, bacteria were readily seen in the pustule and dermis. H. ducreyi was associated with polymorphonuclear leukocytes and macrophages in the pustule and at its base, but was not associated with T cells, Langerhans' cells, or fibroblasts. H. ducreyi colocalized with collagen and fibrin but not laminin or fibronectin. Association with phagocytes, collagen, and fibrin was seen as early as 48 h and persisted at the pustular stage of disease. Optical sectioning by confocal microscopy and transmission electron microscopy both failed to demonstrate intracellular H. ducreyi. These data identify collagen and fibrin as potentially important targets of adherence in vivo and strongly suggest that H. ducreyi remains extracellular throughout infection and survives by resisting phagocytic killing in vivo.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases