Bacteroides and Staphylococcus Glycocalyx: Chemical Analysis, and the Effects on Chemiluminescence and Chemotaxis of Human Polymorphonuclear Leucocytes.

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Glycocalyx (or slime), which is an important virulence factor of many pathogenic bacteria, was isolated from Bacteroides fragilis, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Organisms were grown for 24 h in a chemically defined, dialysable liquid medium. Bacteria were centrifuged and the supernatant was concentrated and dialysed against distilled water. Total carbohydrate and protein were estimated using standard methods. Thin layer and gas-liquid chromatography of trifluoro acetic acid hydrolysed and non-hydrolysed samples provided evidence for the presence of polysaccharide, the absence of nucleic acids and lipopolysaccharide and for the identification of the individual sugar residues. Glucose, mannose and galactose (B. fragilis), glucose (B. thetaiotaomicron), and glucose and heptose (S. epidermidis) were the sugar residues detected. Uronic acid and hexosamine were detected in all species. Glycocalyx preparations (1 mg/ml) from Bacteroides and Staphylococcus significantly inhibited the chemiluminescence and chemotactic responses of viable human polymorphonuclear leucocytes (PMNL), but were not toxic for PMNL.