Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tufted Bacteria Cause Infection In Premature Babies

Date:
April 30, 2009
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Bacteria that normally reside on the skin of healthy people can cause serious infections in premature babies. Scientists have now found an explanation for why a certain kind of staphylococcus can attach itself to the skin and quickly develop dynamic ecosystems: the bacteria are like tufted, self-adhesive hairballs.

Tufted bacteria.
Credit: Kjell Hultenby

Bacteria that normally reside on the skin of healthy people can cause serious infections in premature babies. A group of researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have now found an explanation for why a certain kind of staphylococcus can attach itself to the skin and quickly develop dynamic ecosystems: the bacteria are like tufted, self-adhesive hairballs.

Related Articles


Staphylococcus establishes itself on the child's skin and mucous membranes directly after birth. In healthy adults and children, these bacteria normally live in harmony with the host organism. However, in sick adults or premature babies, they can cause blood poisoning.

The scientists believe that the hair-like protrusions on the surface of the bacteria that have now been identified serve to adhere the bacteria to the host's cells, whereupon they cause infection. They also found that the antimicrobial substance LL37, which is found on the skin (amongst other places) can inhibit the growth of the bacteria, and probably plays an important part in keeping the bacteria flora stable and inhibiting their uncontrolled proliferation.

"We wanted to conduct this research not only to learn more about the pathogenic potential of the bacteria, but also to understand how the child can protect itself from attack by, for instance, enhancing the body's own defences," says Giovanna Marchini, associate professor at Karolinska Institutet and senior physician at the Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital neonatal section.

Dr Marchini stresses that humans have evolved effective forms of co-existence with certain microbes; for example, the most common intestinal bacteria produces Vitamin K, which we need every day and which is important for the blood's coagulative properties. Bacteria are also necessary for the development of an effective immune defence system. In recent years, these 'beneficial' bacteria have been the object of increasingly intensive study, and are behind the development of the 'hygiene theory'.

"It's thought that the past decades' hunt for disease-causing bacteria means that we now live too cleanly, which has contributed to the sharp rise in allergies and other ‘luxury diseases'," continues Dr Marchini. "Other than wanting to prevent infection in babies, we also think it's an exciting challenge to understand the conceivable health aspects of these tiny, round and tufted skin dwellers."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karolinska Institutet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Annika Nelson, Kjell Hultenby, Éva Hell, Hilde M Riedel, Hjalmar Brismar, Jan-Ingmar Flock, Joachim Lundahl, Christian G Giske & Giovanna Marchini. Staphylococcus epidermidis isolated from newborn infants express pilus-like structures and are inhibited by the cathelicidin-derived antimicrobial peptide LL37. Pediatric Research, 22 April 2009

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Tufted Bacteria Cause Infection In Premature Babies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429091230.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2009, April 30). Tufted Bacteria Cause Infection In Premature Babies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429091230.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Tufted Bacteria Cause Infection In Premature Babies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429091230.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) — Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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