Studies of toxicity of neisseria gonorrhoeae for human fallopian tube mucosa

M. A. Melly, C. R. Gregg, Z. A. McGee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Infection of human fallopian tubes in organ culture with Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes extensive damage of the mucosa. Filter-sterilized supernatant from gonococci-infected organ cultures produced similar damage in recipient uninfected organ cultures. This observation indicated the presence of one or more toxic factors. The toxic activity was unchanged after heating the supernatant to 85 C and was only partially diminished by dialysis. Toxic activity could not be detected in homogenates of uninfected organ cultures but was present in supernatants of gonococcal broth cultures. Toxic supernatants from organ cultures contained microgram quantities of gonococcal lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Amounts of this LPS and toxic activity for genital mucosa were both substantially reduced by absorption of the supernatant with limulus amoebocyte lysate. Thus, gonococcal LPS appears to be responsible for most of the toxicity of filter-sterilized supernatant from gonococci-infected human fallopian tubes in organ culture and may play an important role in the pathogenesis of gonococcal infection in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-431
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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