Specific parasitism of purified vaginal epithelial cells by Trichomonas vaginalis

J. F. Alderete, P. Demes, A. Gombosova, M. Valent, M. Fabusova, A. Janoska, J. Stefanovic, R. Arroyo

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41 Scopus citations


Human vaginal epithelial cells (VECs) from vaginal swabs obtained from normal women or from patients with trichomoniasis were purified, and VEC parasitism by Trichomonas vaginalis was examined. Trichomonads bound equally well to live or dead VECs, and up to 20% of VECs were parasitized. Trichomonal cytadherence of human VECs was time, temperature, and pH dependent. Saturation binding levels of live trichomonads to VECs gave ~2 organisms adherent to parasitized VEC. No differences in cytadherence levels were detected by different isolates to VECs from the same patient compared with adherence to VECs from normal individuals. Trypsinized, live T. vaginalis organisms failed to recognize VECs. A ligand assay identified four adhesin candidates, and only organisms without a prominent immunogen on the surface (negative phenotype) cytadhered to VECs and synthesized the adhesins, confirming the results of a recently published report by us on adherence to HeLa cell monolayers (J.F. Alderete and G.E. Garza, Infect. Immun. 56:28-33, 1988). These data show the ability of T. vaginalis to parasitize human vaginal epithelial cells in a specific receptor-ligand manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2558-2562
Number of pages5
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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