Bacterial adherence in smokers and non-smokers

G. Piatti, T. Gazzola, L. Allegra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Bacterial adherence is thought to be a first important step in the pathogenesis of infection. It is now recognized that bacteria bind to and colonize mucosal surfaces in a highly selective manner via a lock- and key mechanism with complementary receptors on the mucosal surfaces of the host. We studied adherence to buccal cells of a panel of potential respiratory pathogens as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in 18 smokers and 18 healthy non-smokers. Our results show an increased pneumococcal adherence in smokers compared to that of non-smokers and this may explain the role of smoking as a risk factor in the susceptibility to bacterial pneumonia. The other bacterial species tested do not differ in their adhesion values and probably require previous damage of the mucosa before adhesion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-484
Number of pages4
JournalPharmacological Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1997


  • Bacterial adherence
  • Infection
  • Lock and key mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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