Mystery of bacterial infection and heart complications solved

Scientists at the University of Liverpool in the U.K. may have finally solved the link between a bacterial pathogen and heart complications that has puzzled researchers and clinicians for years.

The pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae does not infect the heart, yet it is frequently associated with an increased risk of fatal heart complications including heart failure and heart attacks.

A multidisciplinary research team at the university, led by microbiology and immunology professors Aras Kadioglu, PhD, and Cheng-Hock Toh, MD, has demonstrated how the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae releases a toxin called pneumolysin, which attaches to heart muscle cells, causing complications and even death.

Additionally, the researchers discovered the use of antibiotics exacerbates damage to heart muscle cells during an infection because the antibiotic-induced bacterial death releases large amounts of pneumolysin into the blood circulation.

To mitigate the problem, the researchers engineered fat bodies, called liposomes, which can bind to the toxin and neutralize it.



More articles on infection control:
Want that shared keyboard at work self-sanitized for you? Done deal.
Top 10 infection control stories, May 11-15
Are clinicians obligated to treat highly infectious patients? Bioethics experts discuss

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars