Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New pain target, discovery for bacterial infections

Date:
February 10, 2014
Source:
KU Leuven
Summary:
Components in the outer wall of bacteria directly activate pain sensors, triggering immediate pain and inflammatory responses. This finding by a multinational team of researchers sheds new light on pain associated with bacterial infections and reveals a new target for drugs designed to treat them.

Bacterial infections are a global health problem and their treatment remains a major challenge to modern medicine. Infections of Gram-negative bacteria, in particular, are a major cause of human diseases, such as pneumonia, meningitis, gastroenteritis and gonorrhea.

Part of Gram-negative bacteria's danger lies in certain disease-causing components in the bacteria's outer wall. The most significant, say the researchers, is lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In bacterial infections, LPS fragments from damaged bits of the bacterial walls are released locally, triggering an immune response.

When they come in contact with specialised TLR4 receptors at the surface of 'sentinel' immune cells, chemicals are released that recruit other immune cells, inducing swelling, tissue injury and eventual lyses and clearance of the bacteria.

But our immune system is unable to respond quickly enough to the presence of LPS, and fast reactions to this molecule, such as acute pain, inflammation and low blood pressure, remained unexplained until now.

Toothache

The study, published in the 20 January issue of Nature Communications, uncovers, on the molecular level, how LPS causes these symptoms. The researchers found that LPS insert in the membrane surrounding sensory nerve endings, inducing a mechanical deformation that is then sensed by TRPA1 proteins. This leads to activation of TRPA1 within a matter of seconds, the influx of positively-charged ions into the nerves and the firing of electric signals that are interpreted as pain by our central nervous system.

In addition, the influx of calcium ions through TRPA1 induces the release of factors that produce dilation of the blood vessels and tissue inflammation.

The study is the culmination of a five-year probe by lead author Victor M. Meseguer (UC Berkeley) that started in a dentist's office. Inquiring into the cause of his toothache, he was told it was a bacterial infection but that the underlying molecular mechanisms were not yet known. Today, he and his co-authors are able to show that his tooth pain was caused by bacterial LPS targeting TRPA1.

TRPA1 proteins are already known to be a detector of multiple harmful compounds contained in smoke, mustard, wasabi and tobacco. We can now add bacterial LPS to that list, say the researchers.

"The identification of TRPA1 as a molecular determinant of direct LPS effects on pain-sensing neurons offers new insights into the pathogenesis of pain and neurovascular responses during bacterial infections and opens novel avenues for their treatment," said senior author Karel Talavera.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Victor Meseguer, Yeranddy A. Alpizar, Enoch Luis, Sendoa Tajada, Bristol Denlinger, Otto Fajardo, Jan-Albert Manenschijn, Carlos Fernández-Peña, Arturo Talavera, Tatiana Kichko, Belén Navia, Alicia Sánchez, Rosa Señarís, Peter Reeh, María Teresa Pérez-García, José Ramón López-López, Thomas Voets, Carlos Belmonte, Karel Talavera, Félix Viana. TRPA1 channels mediate acute neurogenic inflammation and pain produced by bacterial endotoxins. Nature Communications, 2014; 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4125

Cite This Page:

KU Leuven. "New pain target, discovery for bacterial infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140210114548.htm>.
KU Leuven. (2014, February 10). New pain target, discovery for bacterial infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140210114548.htm
KU Leuven. "New pain target, discovery for bacterial infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140210114548.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) — Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) — Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. 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:
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