Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Long Antibiotic Treatments: Slowly Growing Bacteria to Blame

15.08.2014

Whether pneumonia or sepsis – infectious diseases are becoming increasingly difficult to treat.

One reason for this is the growing antibiotic resistance. But even non-resistant bacteria can survive antibiotics for some time, and that’s why treatments need to be continued for several days or weeks.


Infected mouse spleen containing fast (green) and slow (orange) growing Salmonella (blue: nuclei of mouse cells). Illustration: University of Basel, Biozentrum

Scientists at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel showed that bacteria with vastly different antibiotic sensitivity coexist within the same tissue. In the scientific journal Cell they report that, in particular, slowly growing pathogens hamper treatment.

Many bacteria are principally susceptible to treatment, but can still survive for some hours to days in adverse environmental conditions, such as exposure to antibiotics. It is commonly assumed that these pathogens are in a type of “dormancy” state.

They don’t grow and thus become invulnerable against the effects of many antibiotics. However, Prof. Dirk Bumann and his team at the University of Basel's Biozentrum, demonstrated that dormant pathogens play only a minor role in Salmonella-infected tissue. Instead, abundant slowly growing bacteria are the biggest challenge for treatment.

Salmonella grows at different rates

Genetically identical bacteria can grow at very different rates, even within the same test tube. Is this also true for pathogens in infected host tissues? Bumann used a new method based on fluorescent colors, to measure the proliferation of individual Salmonella. The results revealed that in host tissues some Salmonella grow very rapidly, producing many daughter cells, which cause increasingly severe disease. Most bacteria, however, reside in tissue regions with limited nutrient supply, in which they grow only slowly.

Slow growth ensures survival

How do these diverse growth rates impact on the success of antibiotic therapy? Therapy of infected mice quickly ameliorated disease signs, but even after five days of treatment, some bacteria still survived in the tissues, posing a risk for relapse. “We could kill already 90 percent of the Salmonella with the first antibiotic dose, particularly those that grew rapidly”, reports Bumann, “but non-growing Salmonella survived much better. Treatment success thus depended on the Salmonella replication rate.”

This observation could support the current research focus on “dormant” bacteria. However, Bumann was surprised that such bacteria were actually not the biggest challenge for treatment. “Instead, slowly growing Salmonella are more important. They tolerate antibiotics less well compared to dormant bacteria, but they are present in much larger numbers, and readily restart their growth once antibiotic levels in the tissue drop, thus driving infection and relapse.

As a result, slowly growing pathogens dominate throughout the entire therapy. A better understanding of bacterial physiology of such slowly growing bacteria, could help us to shorten the duration of treatment with a more specifically targeted antibiotic therapy.” This is particularly interesting for infectious diseases that currently require medication over several weeks or even months, to prevent a recurrence of the infection.

Original source
Beatrice Claudi, Petra Spröte, Anna Chirkova, Nicolas Personnic, Janine Zankl, Nura Schürmann, Alexander Schmidt, and Dirk Bumann
Phenotypic variation of Salmonella in host tissue delays eradication by antibiotic chemotherapy
Cell, published 14 August 2014

Katrin Bühler | Universität Basel
Further information:
http://www.unibas.ch

Further reports about: Biozentrum Blame Cell Salmonella antibiotic antibiotics bacteria conditions grow pathogens relapse therapy

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel 'repair system' discovered in algae may yield new tools for biotechnology
29.07.2016 | Boyce Thompson Institute

nachricht Molecular troublemakers instead of antibiotics?
29.07.2016 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Self-assembling nano inks form conductive and transparent grids during imprint

Transparent electronics devices are present in today’s thin film displays, solar cells, and touchscreens. The future will bring flexible versions of such devices. Their production requires printable materials that are transparent and remain highly conductive even when deformed. Researchers at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have combined a new self-assembling nano ink with an imprint process to create flexible conductive grids with a resolution below one micrometer.

To print the grids, an ink of gold nanowires is applied to a substrate. A structured stamp is pressed on the substrate and forces the ink into a pattern. “The...

Im Focus: The Glowing Brain

A new Fraunhofer MEVIS method conveys medical interrelationships quickly and intuitively with innovative visualization technology

On the monitor, a brain spins slowly and can be examined from every angle. Suddenly, some sections start glowing, first on the side and then the entire back of...

Im Focus: Newly discovered material property may lead to high temp superconductivity

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Ames Laboratory have discovered an unusual property of purple bronze that may point to new ways to achieve high temperature superconductivity.

While studying purple bronze, a molybdenum oxide, researchers discovered an unconventional charge density wave on its surface.

Im Focus: Mapping electromagnetic waveforms

Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.

Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...

Im Focus: Continental tug-of-war - until the rope snaps

Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases

Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2016: 7th Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

29.07.2016 | Event News

GROWING IN CITIES - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Gardening

15.07.2016 | Event News

SIGGRAPH2016 Computer Graphics Interactive Techniques, 24-28 July, Anaheim, California

15.07.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Vortex laser offers hope for Moore's Law

29.07.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Novel 'repair system' discovered in algae may yield new tools for biotechnology

29.07.2016 | Life Sciences

Clash of Realities 2016: 7th Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

29.07.2016 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>