Scanning electron microscopy of attachment of Neisseria gonorrhoeae colony phenotypes to surfaces of human genital epithelia

D. L. Draper, E. A. Donegan, J. F. James, Richard L Sweet, G. F. Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Attachment of different gonococcal colony phenotypes to explants of human genital tract epithelium was studied by means of scanning electron microscopy and radioisotope-labeled gonococci. Heavily piliated organisms attached in greater numbers than nonpiliated organisms. Gonococci from transparent colony phenotypes attached in higher numbers than gonococci from opaque phenotypes to all tissues studied. Transitional cells from cervical tissues showing a gradual squamocolumnar transition demonstrated more gonococci attached per surface area than either endocervical or fallopian tube epithelium. Squamous epithelium showed the fewest number of attached gonococci. In all tissues, the attachment of the gonococcus was to the tips and surfaces of the microvilli. Gonococcal colony phenotypes as well as the length and location of the cervical transition zone may influence the progression of cervical gonococcal infection to invasive disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-826
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number7 I
StatePublished - 1980
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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