Détente, and a good fence, can be far more effective than all-out assault in the age-old war between man and microbe, University of Chicago researchers report in the February issue of Gastroenterology. By injecting a protective coating into the intestines to pacify bacteria there instead of relying on antibiotics to kill them, the scientists were able to protect mice from otherwise lethal infections.
The protective coating, a high-molecular-weight polyethylene glycol, protected mice who had had major surgery from infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a virulent pathogen that quickly kills 100 percent of untreated mice. A Pseudomonas infection is one of the most lethal complications for patients after major surgery.
"If you cant beat them -- and you cant -- then you want to indulge them," says John Alverdy, M.D., associate professor of surgery at the University of Chicago and director of the study. "An unhappy parasite is programmed to kill the host and move on. So we decided to look for ways to gratify them, to please these powerful microbes and keep them content."
John Easton | EurekAlert!
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