Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

C. diff researchers reveal potential target to fight infections

Date:
November 30, 2012
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
Researchers have discovered how a common diarrhea-causing bacterium sends the body’s natural defenses into overdrive, actually intensifying illness while fighting infection.

Researchers at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech have discovered how a common diarrhea-causing bacterium sends the body's natural defenses into overdrive, actually intensifying illness while fighting infection.

The discovery, recently published in PLOS One, may lead to new drug treatments for Clostridium difficile, a common germ in health care-associated infections often referred to as C. diff. It has been linked to the death of 14,000 Americans annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers with the Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens at Virginia Tech applied computational and mathematical modeling in combination with RNA-sequencing and mouse studies to understand an important regulatory pathway during Clostridium difficile infection.

"We have found that tissue damage and disease severity in C. difficile infection is associated with a disruption of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) pathway," said Josep Bassaganya-Riera, a professor of immunology, director of the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory and the principal investigator with the Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens.

The human intestine must peacefully coexist with trillions of beneficial bacteria while swiftly responding to pathogens such as C. difficile. Sometimes the immune system will go into overdrive when responding to pathogens, causing more damage in an attempt to clear the infection.

Scientists studying mice bowels found the PPARγ pathway keeps the immune response in check, allowing the body to heal while the immune cells that fight infection do their work in a controlled manner. When PPARγ was absent or inactive, disease was more rampant and colonic lesions from C. difficile were much worse.

In addition, researchers found the protective mechanism can be activated and the severity of the C. difficile infection can be reduced by using an existing diabetes drug. More studies will be needed before the drug can be tested against C. difficile.

"This research demonstrates that the integration of powerful computer simulations of host responses with immunology experimentation not only contributes to a better understanding of the immunoregulatory processes in the gut mucosa during C. difficile infection, but it also advances the discovery of broad-based therapeutic targets in the host for infectious diseases," said Raquel Hontecillas, an assistant professor of immunology at Virginia Tech, co-director of the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory and leader of the immunology component of the Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens.

This research builds on previous work from the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory, which shows that PPARγ is critical to reducing disease caused by enteric pathogens and regulating autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease.

"With continued research, new drugs targeting this pathway will be developed that will have fewer side effects and greater efficacy than those currently on the market," Bassaganya-Riera said.

C. difficile has become a widespread problem in hospitals with patients who have received heavy doses of multiple antibiotics and it is spreading in the community. Symptoms include persistent diarrhea, fever, gut inflammation, and weight loss. Even though such potentially life-threatening intestinal infections occur among very young, elderly or immune-compromised individuals, C. difficile has increasingly been found in patients who traditionally would not be susceptible to this bacterium.

Current strains of C. difficile have become even more virulent and anti-microbial resistant in recent years which emphasizes the importance of developing broad-based, host-targeted approaches to control the disease as opposed to just relying on anti-microbial therapies that target the bacterium and can stimulate the spread of resistance.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Monica Viladomiu, Raquel Hontecillas, Mireia Pedragosa, Adria Carbo, Stefan Hoops, Pawel Michalak, Katarzyna Michalak, Richard L. Guerrant, James K. Roche, Cirle A. Warren, Josep Bassaganya-Riera. Modeling the Role of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ and MicroRNA-146 in Mucosal Immune Responses to Clostridium difficile. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (10): e47525 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047525

Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "C. diff researchers reveal potential target to fight infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121130110550.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2012, November 30). C. diff researchers reveal potential target to fight infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121130110550.htm
Virginia Tech. "C. diff researchers reveal potential target to fight infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121130110550.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
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