The development of the tick-borne rickettsial pathogen Cowdria ruminantium (S stock) was studied in bovine umbilical endothelial (BUE) cell cultures and in goat choroid plexus, by light- and electron microscopy. Cowdria divided by binary fission within intracytoplasmic vacuoles resulting in large colonies of reticulate bodies. After three to four days in culture, reticulate bodies developed into smaller intermediate bodies characterized by an electron-dense core. Shortly before disruption of the host cells, intermediate bodies condensed further into electron-dense elementary bodies, which were released into the culture medium. Elementary bodies invade other endothelial cells thus initiating a new infectious cycle which lasts between 5 and 6 days. In the infected goat choroid plexus similar reticulate and intermediate bodies were identified within vacuoles of capillary endothelial cells. However, extracellular elementary bodies were not detected. Another stock of Cowdria (W) showed an identical developmental cycle as that of the S stock. The W isolate was also pathogenic for mice, making it possible to test the infectivity of reticulate and elementary bodies in these animals. Reticulate bodies appeared to be less infective than elementary bodies. The developmental cycle of Cowdria resembles the cycle known to occur in Chlamydia. Moreover, Cowdria has other similarities with Chlamydia. It has a Gram-negative envelope, it does not store iodine-stainable carbohydrates and may lack peptidoglycan as does Chlamydia. It is concluded, that Cowdria and Chlamydia are to a certain extent related, confirming a recent report that both organisms have certain antigenic determinants in common. Since Cowdria is also related to Ehrlichia it may well be that Cowdria takes an intermediate position between Chlamydia and Ehrlichia. The phylogenetic relationship between Cowdria and Chlamydia and also with Ehrlichia should be further elucidated by molecular analysis using 16S ribosomal DNA sequences.
The articles have been scanned in colour with a HP Scanjet 5590; 600dpi.
Adobe Acrobat XI Pro was used to OCR the text and also for the merging and conversion to the final presentation PDF-format.