Ricerca in clinica e in laboratorio

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 136–148 | Cite as

Ultrastructural changes in HEp-2 cells treated with staphylococcal α-toxin

  • Franco Paradisi
  • Paola Barsotti
  • Gabriella Pepe
  • Alda Cifarelli
Original Contributions


The effect of highly purified staphylococcal α-toxin on HEp-2 neoplastic cells growing in culture was studied by electron microscopy. In addition to some nuclear modifications, the most significant morphological changes were in mitochondrial structure. α-toxin seems to induce a defined sequence of changes in mitochondrial configuration which can be summarized as an earlier phase of ‘condensation’ of mitochondrial structure and a later phase of mitochondrial swelling with an intermediate ‘transitional’ configuration. The significance of these findings is discussed in the light of the present state of knowledge of the biological characteristics of staphylococcal α-toxin.


Cell cultures Electron microscopy Microbial toxins Mitochondrial damage Staphylococcal α-toxin 

Abbreviations used


International Units


Minimal Haemolytic Dose


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franco Paradisi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Paola Barsotti
    • 2
  • Gabriella Pepe
    • 1
  • Alda Cifarelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto di Clinica Medica Generale e Terapia MedicaII Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia dell’Università di NapoliNapoliItalia
  2. 2.Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia dell’Università di RomaI Cattedra di Anatomia ed Istologia PatologicaItalia
  3. 3.University of ChietiItaly

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