Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Causes Of Rheumatic Heart Disease Discovered

Date:
March 2, 2009
Source:
Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research
Summary:
Scientists have discovered the causes of rheumatic heart disease. Each year, around 15 million children fall ill with rheumatic heart disease worldwide; half a million of them die as a consequence. At the beginning of the medical cases of these children stands a simple throat infection with streptococcus -- spherical bacteria responsible for causing a range of different infections.

PARF-carrying Streptococci (left), bound to collagen, and Wildtype-Streptococci (right).
Credit: Image courtesy of Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research

Each year, around 15 million children fall ill with rheumatic heart disease worldwide; half a million of them die as a consequence. At the beginning of the medical cases of these children stands a simple throat infection with streptococcus – spherical bacteria responsible for causing a range of different infections. However, it is only certain streptococcal strains that trigger a whole chain of reactions in the body that culminates in the life-threatening rheumatic heart disease. These bacteria carry a special protein sequence, the so-called PARF motif, on their surface.

Related Articles


Singh Chhatwal and his colleague Patric Nitsche-Schmitz of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig illustrate the role played by PARF in the development of rheumatic heart disease. With this knowledge they are developing a test system that is able to recognise and prevent the disease at an early stage.

"PARF means 'peptide associated with rheumatic fever'," explains Nitsche-Schmitz. "It is a small section from a bacterial surface protein , which is used by the streptococcus to adhere to our cells and cause disease." Rheumatic fever develops from harmless sore throats amongst children in India, Australia and Africa in particular. The reason: inadequate medical treatment.

If children with a streptococcus infection in the throat receive no or inadequate antibiotic treatment, then the surviving bacteria with the PARF sequence on their surface will adhere to their collagen. Collagen is present throughout the body – as a major component of bone and cartillage it determines shape and structure of our body and it strengthens the connective tissue of the skin, the heart valves and blood vessels with its high resistance to tensile forces. Adhesion of PARF-bearing streptococci to collagen confuses our immune system and our body's defence system not only targets the bacteria, but also healthy and vital collagen. The auto-immune disease rheumatic fever breaks out. If this in turn also fails to be treated correctly, the consequence is rheumatic heart disease: the heart valves, rich in collagen, become inflamed and cease to function.

Overall, only around five percent of all throat infections with streptococci result in an auto-immune disease. In order to filter out these five percent and treat them at an early stage, the Braunschweig infection researchers are developing a simple test strip that reacts to the PARF motif. "We hope that this will soon give us a test system that we can use for examination of children on a routine basis," says Singh Chhatwal: "This would save the lives of a lot of children."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dinkla et al. Crucial Role of the CB3-Region of Collagen IV in PARF-Induced Acute Rheumatic Fever. PLoS ONE, 2009; 4 (3): e4666 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004666

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research. "Causes Of Rheumatic Heart Disease Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090302090634.htm>.
Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research. (2009, March 2). Causes Of Rheumatic Heart Disease Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090302090634.htm
Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research. "Causes Of Rheumatic Heart Disease Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090302090634.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to boost your health this season, there are a few quick and easy steps to prompt you for success. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best tips to give your health a makeover this spring! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins