Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Macrophages: Effect of Certain Surfactants and Other Membrane-Active Compounds

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Science  08 Nov 1968:
Vol. 162, Issue 3854, pp. 686-689
DOI: 10.1126/science.162.3854.686


Some compounds, not directly inhibitory or enhancing, nevertheless influence growth of tubercle bacilli in macrophages in cell culture. They include certain surfactants whose effects can be varied by their structural design. The compounds are probably stored in cell lysosomes. They can interact with various membranes to affect permeability. The anti- and protuberculous surfactants differ in such interaction and also in effect on lysosomal enzyme activity in infected macrophages. A link between the effect on lysosomal membranes and on tuberculous infection is suggested.

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