European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 144, Issue 3, pp 230–233 | Cite as

Comparison of the antibacterial effect of uroepithelial cells from healthy donors and children with asymptomatic bacteriuria

  • H. Schulte-Wissermann
  • W. Mannhardt
  • J. Schwarz
  • F. Zepp
  • D. Bitter-Suermann
Original Investigations


Bacterial attachment to uroepithelial cells (UEC) and the effect of UEC on bacterial growth was investigated in 15 healthy persons and 12 patients suffering from asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU) with recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI). Desquamated UEC and mannose-resistant Escherichia coli were co-cultivated for up to 90 min. While no difference in bacterial adherence was observed between healthy controls and patients, 33.4% of the bacteria attached to normal UEC were found to be dead under microscopic evaluation (acridine orange staining), whereas no killing effect could be observed in patients' UEC 5 min after the onset of incubation. This phenomenon was confirmed by investigating the E. coli growth rate in the presence of UEC, measured by counting bacterial colony forming units (CFU) on agar plates. While E. coli showed exponential growth in RPMI medium, the addition of normal UEC suppressed bacterial growth (P<0.01). UEC from patients with ABU, however, did not show this effect. It has been concluded that bacterial adhesion may initiate an epithelial defence function, present in healthy controls and lacking in ABU patients.

Key words

Bladder defence mechanism Uroepithelial cell Bacterial adherence Pili Asymptomatic bacteriuria 



asymptomatic bacteriuria


colony forming units


phosphate-buffered saline


uroepithelial cell


urinary tract infection


globoseries glycolipid receptor


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Schulte-Wissermann
    • 1
  • W. Mannhardt
    • 1
  • J. Schwarz
    • 1
  • F. Zepp
    • 1
  • D. Bitter-Suermann
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Mainz, Medical SchoolMainzFederal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of Mainz, Medical SchoolMainzFederal Republic of Germany

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