Scientists discover the secret of diabetic superbugs’ virulence

PITSBURGH, November 13, 2020 – The bodies of people with uncontrolled diabetes appear to be the ideal environment for a common type of superbugs to thrive unchecked and cause their worst damage, according to new research by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists.

Researchers report today in Science Advances that Staphylococcus aureusBacteria that are often resistant to antibiotics – thrive in cases of glucose-rich diabetes, activating some of their more deadly features. Insulin deficiency prevents the immune system from responding to infection.

“This explains why a wound or wound in a diabetic must be treated aggressively,” said lead researcher Anthony Richardson, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. “The immune system needs help identifying and clearing the infection before it can be controlled.”

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when blood sugar levels – measured as blood glucose – are too high. This occurs in people who either do not produce enough insulin, a hormone that helps cells convert glucose into energy, or respond poorly to the insulin in their blood. In the United States, 11% of people have diabetes, and more than a third of adults have prediabetes.

Among people with diabetes, up to a third have diabetic foot ulcers, which are the most common cause of foot infection and leg amputations, according to the American Diabetes Association. Aureus It is often associated with these types of invasive infections, especially in people with poorly controlled diabetes.

Rates Aureus Infection and diabetes have grown by leaps and bounds over the past three decades.

Previously, lead author Lance Thurlow, Ph.D., who conducted the research in Pitt and is now at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, showed that Aureus Two other “glucose transporters” have been developed in addition to the two that are already common in most types of staphylococcus. This gives Aureus An advantage over other bacteria is in taking advantage of excess blood sugar for reproduction.

In this recent study, Richardson, Thurlow, and the rest of the team conducted experiments on both diabetic and non-diabetic mice and staphylococcal strains with and without additional vectors.

In mice with diabetes, a strain Aureus With four glucose transporters rapidly forming biofilms and active pathways to make them more virulent. Meanwhile, the immune system of those diabetic mice was particularly slow to respond, leading to severe diabetic infections and ulcers. In the non-diabetic mice, the immune system was able to contain and fight the infection. When the diabetic mice were given a drug that lowers blood sugar, they contained the infection almost like normal mice.

Diabetic mice infected with strains of staphylococcus without additional glucose transporters had a less invasive infection, although their immune systems were still slower to respond than their non-diabetic counterparts.

Knowing the mechanism of this Aureus Richardson said uses to induce such a devastating infection in people with diabetes could lead to treatments that take advantage of the bacteria’s hunger for glucose, and trick them into consuming a toxic isotope.

“But we also cannot overlook the need to prevent and control diabetes,” he added. If we can prevent people from developing diabetes and help the people with diabetes control their blood sugar, then Aureus They will face much more difficulty in causing such a terrible infection. ”


Additional co-authors for this publication are Amelia C. Stephens, BS, and Kelly E. Hurley, BS, both from Pitt.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health with grants R01 AI093613 and R21 AI111707.

To read or share this edition online, visit /Half/News /111320-Richardson-Diabetes [when embargo lifts].

About University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

As one of the nation’s leading academic centers for biomedical research, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine integrates advanced technology with basic science across a wide range of disciplines in an ongoing quest to harness the power of new knowledge and improve the human condition. Driven primarily by the College of Medicine and its affiliates, Pitt has been ranked in the top 10 recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1998. In the recent rankings released by the National Science Foundation, Pitt ranked fifth among all US universities in the total federal support for research and development in the field of Science and engineering.

Likewise, the College of Medicine is equally committed to developing the quality and robustness of its medical education and graduate programs, which are recognized as an innovative leader, and to train highly skilled and compassionate physicians and creative scientists well equipped to participate in world-class research. The School of Medicine is the academic partner of UPMC, which has teamed up with the university to raise the standard of medical excellence in Pittsburgh and position healthcare as the driving force behind the area’s economy. For more information about the College of Medicine, see http: // www.middle School.a house.Edo.

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