Trichomonas vaginalis: strain differences in adhesion to plastic and virulence in vitro and in vivo

D. Gold*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Trichomonas vaginalis isolated from clinical cases were grown axenically in TYI-S-33 medium. Various strains of this flagellate showed different adhesion characteristics in medium containing bovine serum or Cohn fractions thereof. These were not inversely related to the time in axenic culture. The adsorption of serum components to the parasites was assessed in relationship to adhesion but in many cases was probably not adhesion-related. All strains tested for virulence in vitro were almost equally cytotoxic for HeLa tissue cultures. However, in infectivity trials, one of these strains exhibited the highest adhesion capability and proved to be the most virulent for mice, and another (cloned) strain with the poorest adhesion capability failed to cause infection. Other strains exhibited lessened virulence following their extended axenic cultivation. It therefore appears that the in vivo pathogenic potential of the parasites growing in axenic culture is inherently strain-dependent. The findings suggest that although adhesion in whole serum-containing medium is sufficient to differentiate between various Trichomonas isolates, it is insufficiently sensitive to correlate adhesion with virulence. It apparently is important to identify the adhesion-mediating factor(s) in serum or in its Cohn fractions IV-1 and IV-4 and to use it (them) to elucidate the possible correlation between the parasite's capacity to adhere and its pathogenicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-315
Number of pages7
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1993


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