Navigation Links
Anthrax stops body from fighting back, study shows

University of Florida researchers have uncovered how the inhaled form of anthrax disarms bacteria-fighting white blood cells before they can fend off the disease, which kills most victims within days.

The lethal toxin in anthrax paralyzes neutrophils, the white blood cells that act as the body's first defense against infection, by impairing how they build tiny filaments that allow them to crawl throughout the body and eat invading bacteria.

Just two hours of exposure to the lethal toxin blocks the neutrophils' ability to produce these filaments by nearly 60 percent, paralyzing themand allowing the anthrax to move freely in the body, according to research released last week in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The need to find new ways to treat victims of bioterrorism has increased since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the anthrax attacks that killed five people exposed to inhalation anthrax through the mail. The UF findings could lead to treatments that block anthrax from paralyzing the much-needed neutrophils, said Dr. Frederick Southwick, division chief of infectious diseases at the UF College of Medicine and the lead author of the paper.

"If your neutrophils work normally, you might be able to shut down thisinfection," said Southwick, who worked on the study with a team of UF researchers and investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University. "The overall goal is to understand how anthrax toxins paralyze the immune system."

Researchers first noticed anthrax's effect on these white blood cells while reviewing the cases in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

The victims did not have elevated white blood cell counts, typical for most infections, and a large number of the inhaled anthrax bacteria had spread from the lungs into the bloodstream, which is unusual, Southwick said.

This led researchers to believe anthrax may be impairing the cells' ability to move and fight off t he offending bacteria, an idea that hadonly been studied once before years earlier.

Using blood samples from volunteers, the researchers studied how neutrophils reacted when exposed to a purified form of anthrax lethal toxin, the part of the spore linked to the illness.

Unlike an intact inhalation anthrax spore, the pure toxin is not dangerous for researchers to use and allows them to isolate specifically how the toxin is affecting cells, Southwick said.

Low doses of the lethal toxin stopped the protein actin from building filaments to steer the neutrophils, stopping the body's immune response, the study found.

"Neutrophils crawl around in the body and roll around in the bloodvessels and whenever they sense bacteria, they gobble it up likePac-Man," said Russell During, a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences who worked withSouthwick on the study. "If neutrophils are the first responders and they never get there, you're fighting a losing battle."

And inhalation anthrax works fast, which is one of the reasons why it is usually fatal, according to the CDC. The disease can be treated with antibiotics, but people often don't seek treatment until it is too late,said Philip C. Hanna, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School.

"A person can die before they know they are terribly sick at all," Hanna said.

Symptoms of inhalation anthrax resemble the common cold and progress to breathing problems, shock and often death, according to the CDC.

But in the 2001 attacks, only half the 10 people who contracted inhalation anthrax died. The five other victims were diagnosed and treated earlier due to quick communication from the doctors who pinpointed the first anthrax infection, Southwick said.

Twelve other people contracted cutaneous (skin) anthrax infections, which are not usually fatal.

Knowledge about anthrax and how it works has improved since then, too, Hanna said. Now doctors know what anthrax looks like and what publichealth steps to take, he added.

The next step for UF researchers is to pinpoint the exact protein thelethal toxin is targeting in the neutrophil. There are more than 100proteins that regulate actin-filament formation, and researchers havealready isolated one that may be responsible, Southwick said.

The UF findings also could affect research on other diseases. Becauseactin is found in every cell, the study could lead researchers to knowmore about how tumors and other cells move in the body, Southwick said.

"It relates to wound healing, it may relate to many diseases and manyproblems," he said.


Source:University of Florida

Related biology news :

1. Study Models Impact Of Anthrax Vaccine
2. Anthrax test, developed by army and CDC, receives FDA approval
3. Anthrax inhibitors identified by Burnham team
4. Anthrax spores may survive water treatment
5. Anthrax inhibitor counteracts toxin, may lead to new therapeutics
6. Anthrax attack posed greater potential threat than thought
7. Anthrax paralyzes immune cells with lethal toxin, UF research shows
8. One bacteria stops another on contact
9. New compound stops brain cell degeneration in Alzheimers disease
10. RNA interference stops colon cancer spread in mice
11. Insulin receptor stops progression of Alzheimers disease
Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/9/2016)... Paris Police Prefecture and ... ensure the safety of people and operations in several locations ... Teleste, an international technology group specialised in broadband ... its video security solution will be utilised by ... across the country. The system roll-out is scheduled for the ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems, Biometrics & ... & Other Service  The latest report from ... of the global Border Security market . Visiongain ... billion in 2016. Now: In November 2015 ... and hardware technologies for advanced video surveillance. ...
(Date:5/12/2016)... , a brand of Troubadour Research & ... Q1 wave of its quarterly wearables survey. A particular ... a program where they would receive discounts for sharing ... "We were surprised to see that so many ... CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily because there are segments ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Cancer experts from Austria, Hungary, ... be a new and helpful biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Surviving Mesothelioma has ... it now. , Biomarkers are components in the blood, tissue or body ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... BOSTON , June 27, 2016   Ginkgo ... biology to industrial engineering, was today awarded as ... a selection of the world,s most innovative companies. ... at scale for the real world in the ... organism engineers work directly with customers including Fortune ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a ... eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research ... by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as ... the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship ... and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring ...
Breaking Biology Technology: