Adherence of Candida albicans to buccal and vaginal epithelial cells: Ultrastructural observations

R. A. Calderone, N. Lehrer, E. Segal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The adherence of Candida albicans to human buccal and vaginal epithelial cells was studied by transmission electron microscopy. Adherence to epithelial cells was confirmed by both a radiometric assay as well as direct microscopic examination of stained cell preparations. Ultramicroscopic preparations revealed that yeast cells were closely appressed to epithelial cell surfaces and were often partially enclosed within phagocyticlike invaginations of the epithelial cells. A murine model of vaginitis caused by C. albicans was also used to study adherence to epithelial cells and to follow the course of colonization. Ultramicroscopic preparations of murine vaginal tissue revealed that within 2 h postinfection, yeast cells could be seen adhering to epithelial cells. At 6 h postinfection, hyphae and yeast cells were not only found on the epithelial cell surface but also within the submucosal tissue. When observed on the epithelial cell surface, Candida cells were either attached to host cells, or when infected tissue was stained with ruthenium red, Candida cells were observed on the epithelial surface embedded within an electron-dense matrix. Fungal elements were abundant in the submucosa at 24 h postinfection and were still observed on the epithelial cell surface; all of this accompanied by an inflammatory response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1001-1007
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteR01HL021370


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