Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New scientific method unmasks chronic infections

Date:
August 8, 2012
Source:
University of Copenhagen
Summary:
With the aid of tiny silicon tubes and one of Europe's most sophisticated centres for microscopy, scientists have been able for the first time to observe directly bacteria in chronic infections. Researchers can now see precisely how bacteria and the immune system interact in living tissue. This opens the potential for developing new medicine to fight resistant bacteria.

Using 5 mm silocone tubes enables the researcher to make a cross section of chronic infections.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Copenhagen

With the aid of tiny silicon tubes and one of Europe's most sophisticated centres for microscopy, scientists have been able for the first time to observe directly bacteria in chronic infections. Researchers can now see precisely how bacteria and the immune system interact in living tissue. This opens the potential for developing new medicine to fight resistant bacteria.

The results have recently been published in the scientific journal Infection and Immunity.

Chronic infections are a large and growing problem throughout the developed world, and intensive research is being conducted in ways to combat the recalcitrant bacteria. When bacteria aggregate into so-called biofilm, they become resistant to antibiotics. Until now scientists have only been able to speculate about what happens when bacteria overpower the immune system during a chronic infection.

In close collaboration between various specialist fields, Danish scientists have now developed a method that gives a precise picture of how the immune system works. Using 5 mm silicone tubes, scientists created a model system that allows them to look closely at how the immune system and bacteria interact in isolation:

"Although we have always suspected that to cause a chronic infection, bacteria knock out the immune system's white blood cells, the new method allows us to see precisely what happens. Instead of looking down on the bacterial surface, we can examine a section to see the interaction directly and follow how the bacteria react to white blood cells and to antibiotics. That enables us to understand the basic processes behind chronic infections," explains Associate Professor Thomas Bjarnsholt, University of Copenhagen.

PhD student Maria Alhede adds: "The new method allows us to investigate which compounds the bacteria are secreting while overpowering the white blood cells. Conversely, we can also see what happens when the immune system works. The white blood cells make DNA traps that capture the bacteria, but that used to be only a guess," relates Maria Alhede, Department for International Health, Immunology and Microbiology.

Scientists follow the effect of drugs in the organism

The Core Facility for Integrated Microscopy at the Department of Biomedical Sciences has some of Europe's most sophisticated microscopes for conducting health research. By combining light microscopy and electron microscopy, scientists can show visually exactly what happens in the body when biofilm bacteria meet the immune system or are treated with antibiotics. The method also makes it possible to investigate what processes are activated when scientists test new medicine. Many different types of patients will benefit from the discoveries.

"Chronic infections most often arise when we introduce foreign objects into the body, such as catheters and implants like artificial hips and knees. But chronic bacterial infections also plague many children with middle-ear infections, as well as diabetics, who run a great risk of developing chronic sores on legs and feet. For patients with cystic fibrosis, the chronic pneumonia caused by the aggressive Pseudomonas bacteria is directly life-threatening. Now we have the opportunity to see the exact mechanism of a drug," explains Professor Niels Højby from Rigshospitalet.

Scientists hope that many people will eventually benefit from the method and that it can contribute knowledge to other areas, such as immunology, because the results were achieved in the interface between various research areas:

"We asked the right questions of the right experiments many times and over a long period. Success is due to collaboration across the lines of research groups and our exploitation of the finely meshed network of expertise," explains Associate Professor Thomas Bjarnsholt.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. M. van Gennip, L. D. Christensen, M. Alhede, K. Qvortrup, P. O. Jensen, N. Hoiby, M. Givskov, T. Bjarnsholt. Interactions between Polymorphonuclear Leukocytes and Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms on Silicone Implants In Vivo. Infection and Immunity, 2012; 80 (8): 2601 DOI: 10.1128/IAI.06215-11

Cite This Page:

University of Copenhagen. "New scientific method unmasks chronic infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808121808.htm>.
University of Copenhagen. (2012, August 8). New scientific method unmasks chronic infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808121808.htm
University of Copenhagen. "New scientific method unmasks chronic infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808121808.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) — Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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