Strong association between capsular type and virulence for mice among human isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae

Academic Article


  • The relationship between capsular type and virulence for mice was examined with 69 fresh human isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae. These isolates represented eight capsular types or groups. Serologic and molecular weight differences in PspA (pneumococcal surface protein A) indicated that the strains were clonally distinct. Mice were infected intravenously with washed bacteria of all 69 isolates in sterile salt solutions. Twenty-eight of the isolates were also injected intraperitoneally to permit comparisons between the intravenous and intraperitoneal routes. With a few exceptions, there was concordance between the ability of strains to cause fatal infections by the two routes. About 30% of the 69 isolates were virulent for mice. The abilities of the isolates to kill mice and the length of time between inoculation and death were strongly associated with capsular type. All type 4 isolates, 40% of type 3 isolates, and 60% of group 6 isolates were virulent for mice; type 1 isolates were marginally virulent; and all type or group 14, 19, and 23 isolates were avirulent. Times to death were generally longer for mice infected with group 6 or type 1 than for those infected with type 3 or 4 pneumococci. There was no relationship between clinical diagnosis or tissue source of the isolates and virulence for mice.
  • Published In

    Author List

  • Briles DE; Crain MJ; Gray BM; Forman C; Yother J
  • Start Page

  • 111
  • End Page

  • 116
  • Volume

  • 60
  • Issue

  • 1