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Intracellular bacterial communities in cystitis; rifapentine cures TB in mouse model; and more

A study published this week in the open access journal PLoS Medicine presents convincing evidence that intracellular bacterial communities (IBCs) commonly exist in women with bladder infections and may contribute to the recurrence of these infections. In mice it has already been established that Escherichia coli (E coli), a type of bacterium that causes urinary tract infections, can avoid the immune system by invading cells lining the bladder, replicate and ultimately re-infect the urinary tract. The existence of IBCs in this new study suggests that a similar cycle may occur in people and that perhaps longer treatment with antibiotics that kill bacteria inside human cells may be necessary for some patients.

Every year, nearly ten million people in the United States - mainly women - consult their doctors because of urinary tract infections, which commonly include cystitis (inflammation of the bladder). To investigate whether IBCs are present in these infections, David Rosen and colleagues at Washington University in St Louis and the University of Washington in Seattle collected urine samples from eighty women with cystitis and from twenty women who a history of cystitis but no longer had any symptoms of it. Using light microscopy, electron microscopy and a technique called immunofluorescence (the identification of antibodies and antigens with fluorescent dyes), the researchers found IBCs in the urine samples of nearly one in five of the women with cystitis. Nearly half of the women with cystitis - including all of those who had IBCs - had filamentous bacteria in their urine. Thes e are bacteria assuming a long, slender shape as part of a mechanism to spread in the urinary tract. Moreover, most of the women with filamentous bacteria - and all of the women with IBCs - had infections caused by E coli: the bacteria species that has been shown to persist in and cause the re-infection of the bladders of mice. None of the women without cystitis had IBCs or filamentous bacteria.

The samples were only taken at one point in time, so further studies will be needed to translate these findings into clinical applications. The findings suggest that the IBC cycle occurs in humans and that it is associated with infections caused by E coli. Indeed, as only one sample was collected from each woman, IBCs may be even more common than indicated in the study.

In a related article Steven Opal reviews the phenomenon of bacteria communicating with each other and coordinating their activities, rather than acting as solitary microorganisms ("lone soldiers"). Such communication was initially observed in a bioluminescent bacterium known as Vibrio fischeri, which forms an unusual symbiotic relationship with the Hawaiian bobtail squid. The bacterium is taken up by light organs along the body of the squid and, when high concentrations of bacteria are attained, the bacterium induces its genes known as luciferase genes to generate visible light. The bacteria benefit from this relationship, as the squid provides a source of nutrients. The squid benefits from the microbial light source, since it provides a unique form of camouflage for the squid during night time mating rituals. Communication between the bacteria occurs through their production of a soluble &ldquo ;quorum sensing" molecule. Dr Opal links this phenomenon to the bacterial communities in urinary tract infections in women, as described by Rosen and colleagues. He states that Rosen and colleagues' study raises the possibility that detection of intracellular bacterial communities in people "might help identify patients who may benefit from a longer course of antimicrobial agents, or from agents that penetrate the intracellular space."

Citation: Rosen DA, Hooton TM, Stamm WE, Humphrey PA, Hultgren SJ (2007) Detection of intracellular bacterial communities in human urinary tract infection. PLoS Med 4(12): e329.

IN YOUR ARTICLE, PLEASE LINK TO THIS URL, WHICH WILL PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE PUBLISHED PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040329

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-04-12-hultgren.pdf

Related image for press use: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-04-12-hultgren.jpg

Caption: Scanning electron microscopy image of a bacterial filament in the urine of a patient with acute cystitis. Filamentous bacteria were found in 41% of urines from cystitis patients and intracellular bacterial communities were found in 18% of these specimens. (David Rosen)

Scott Hultgren
Washington University School of Medicine
Molecular Microbiology
Box 8230
Campus Box 8230
St. Louis, MO 63110-1093
United States of America
+1 314-362-7059
+1 314-362-1998 (fax)

David Rosen
Washington University School of Medicine
Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis
4453 West Pine Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63108
United States of America
+1 314-323-0246

Related PLoS Medicine Research in Translation Article:

Citation: Opal SM (2007) Communal living by bacteria and the pathogenesis of urinary tract infections. PLoS Med 4(12): e349.

IN YOUR ARTICLE, PLEASE LINK TO THIS URL, WHICH WILL PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE PUBLISHED PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040349

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-04-12-opal.pdf

Related image for press use: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-04-12-opal.jpg

Caption: Bobtail Squid (Sepiola Atlantica). Bobtail squid have a symbiotic relationship with bioluminescent bacteria (Vibrio fischeri), which inhabit a special light organ in the squid's mantle. (Photographer: Hans Hillewaert, marine biologist and one of the administrators of Wikispecies http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Lycaon)

Steven Opal
Brown University School of Medicine
Infectious Disease Division
Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Pawtucket, RI 02860
United States of America
+1 401-729-2545
+1 401-729-2795 (fax)


Rifapentine cures tuberculosis in three months or less in a mouse model

Eric Nuermberger and colleagues found that after two months of treatment, mice with lung cultures positive for tuberculosis that received daily doses of rifapentine- and moxifloxacin-containing regimens converted to negative lung cultures. This finding could make possible the development of shorter treatment regimens for humans.

Citation: Rosenthal IM, Zhang M, Williams KN, Peloquin CA, Tyagi S, et al. (2007) Daily dosing of rifapentine cures tuberculosis in three months or less in the murine model. PLoS Med 4(12): e344.

IN YOUR ARTICLE, PLEASE LINK TO THIS URL, WHICH WILL PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE PUBLISHED PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040344

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-04-12-nuermberger.pdf

Eric Nuermberger
Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine
1550 Orleans St
Baltimore, MD 21231
United States of America
+1 410-502-0580
+1 410-614-8173 (fax)

A new target for a vaccine against Plasmodium vivax malaria

Christopher King and colleagues found that both rabbit and human antibodies inhibited binding of protein rPvDBPII to the Duffy antigen N-terminal region and to Duffy-positive human erythrocytes, suggesting that a PvDBP-based vaccine may reduce blood stage Plasmodium vivax infection.

Citation: Grimberg BT, Udomsangpetch R, Xainli J, McHenry A, Panichakul T, et al. (2007) Plasmodium vivax invasion of human erythrocytes inhibited by antibodies directed against the duffy binding protein. PLoS Med 4(12): e337.

IN YOUR ARTICLE, PLEASE LINK TO THIS URL, WHICH WILL PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE PUBLISHED PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040337

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-04-12-king.pdf

Christopher King
Case Western Reserve University
Center for Global Health and Diseases
2103 Cornell Rd
Cleveland, OH 44106-7286
United States of America
+1 216 368- 4817
+1 216 368-4825 (fax)


About PLoS Medicine

PLoS Medicine is an open access, freely available international medical journal. It publishes original research that enhances our understanding of human health and disease, together with commentary and analysis of important global health issues. For more information, visit http://www.plosmedicine.org

About the Public Library of Science

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org

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