OBJECTIVE: To examine the relative adherence of Candida albicans to oral epithelial cells differentiated by Papanicolaou staining. METHODS: Oral epithelial cells were collected from 10 healthy adults (five male, five female) and counted. Equal volumes of oral epithelial cells and candida were mixed and incubated. The epithelial cells from this mix were collected by filtration through 10 microns polycarbonate membrane filters. Cells retained on the membrane filters were stained with crystal violet followed by Papanicolaou stain. The number of yeast attached to each of 100 red, orange, and green staining oral epithelial cells was determined by direct microscopic examination. RESULTS: C albicans had a higher level of adherence (p < 0.001) to red staining oral epithelial cells (mean (SD) number of candida attached to 100 oral epithelial cells 562 (159)) than to cells staining either orange (105 (47)) or green (161 (66)). CONCLUSIONS: Oral epithelial cell variability for candidal adherence is confirmed. The technique provides an opportunity to examine the relation between oral epithelial cell type and oral candidosis in specific groups, such as tobacco smokers, where increased epithelial cell keratinisation and candidal colonisation has been reported.
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