An electron microscopy study of the diversity of Streptococcus sanguinis cells induced by lysozyme in vitro
Bacterial virulence could be altered by the antimicrobial agents of the host. Our aim was to identify the damage and survival of Streptococcus sanguinis induced by lysozymes in vitro and to analyse the potential of oral microorganisms to shirk host defences, which cause infective endocarditis. S. sanguinis ATCC 10556 received lysozyme at concentrations of 12.5, 25, 50 and 100 µg/ml. Cells were examined by electron microscopy. The survival was assessed by colony counting and construction of a growth curve. Challenged by lysozymes, cells mainly exhibited cell wall damage, which seemed to increase with increasing lysozyme concentration and longer incubation period in the presence of ions. Cells with little as well as apparent lesion were observed under the same treatment set, and anomalous stick and huge rotund bodies were occasionally observed. After the removal of the lysozyme, some damaged cells could be reverted to its original form with brain heart infusion (BHI), and their growth curve was similar to the control cells. After further incubation in BHI containing lysozyme, S. sanguinis cell damage stopped progressing, and their growth curve was also similar to the control cells. The results suggested that the S. sanguinis lesions caused by the lysozyme in the oral cavity may be nonhomogeneous and that some damaged cells could self-repair and survive. It also indicated that S. sanguinis with damaged cell walls may survive and be transmitted in the bloodstream.