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The initial colonization, by Staphylococcus aureus, of the catheter damaged aortic valve and aorta of the rabbit, was examined by light and electron microscopy at 15 min, 3 h and 24 h post inoculation (PI). At 15 min PI, the majority of bacteria (80%) were located on the lateral surfaces of the thrombic vegetations while 20% were attached directly to the connective tissue of the aortic valve and aorta in areas where the endothelial lining was disrupted. By 3 h the bacteria on the thrombic vegetations were covered by fibrin. At this time, the bacteria both within the vegetations and on the surface of the vasculature were undergoing multiplication to form small groups. The precipitation of thrombus around the bacteria attached to the surface of the aorta to form microscopic infected vegetations had occurred by 24 h PI. The colonizing bacteria did not elicit any phagocytic response. The colonization of the cardiovasculature by Staph. aureus did not necessarily require pre-existing vegetations.


Journal article


Virchows Arch A Pathol Anat Histopathol

Publication Date





43 - 48


Animals, Aorta, Aortitis, Endocarditis, Heart Valves, Microscopy, Electron, Rabbits, Staphylococcal Infections, Time Factors