Friday, September 24, 2010

immune response feeds parasite

Video - Original Star Trek Day of the Dove Conclusion

The Scientist | Salmonella is able to out compete resident gut microbes by deriving energy from the immune response that is supposed to combat the pathogen, according to a study published this week in Nature.

"It was a surprise," said microbiologist Samuel Miller of the University of Washington, who was not involved in the research. "[Salmonella] is using [the host immune response] to its own advantage."

It's an "interesting story," added Brett Finlay of the University of British Columbia, who also did not participate in the study, in an email -- "a real twist on pathogenic mechanisms."

Salmonella enterica (specifically, serotype Typhimurium) is a gut parasite known to cause diarrhea and intestinal inflammation. The inflammatory response is part of a multipronged host immune response aimed at eliminating the bacteria, but recent studies have suggested that inflammation does just the opposite -- enhances Salmonella growth and transmission.