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Treatment for S. aureus skin infection works in mouse model
Date:8/31/2010

nd whether immunization against the toxin could neutralize Hla and its contribution to the severity of skin disease.

"For cases of skin and soft-tissue infection caused by Staph aureus, this study highlights the potential for antitoxin treatment to become an effective alternative to traditional antibiotics, which we know have limitations because of drug resistance," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. Antitoxins prevent harm caused by a specific part of a pathogensuch as Hla in S. aureusrather than trying to kill the entire pathogen, as antibiotics do.

The study, led by Frank DeLeo, Ph.D., of NIAID's Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Mont., documented physical differences in mice infected with different strains of S. aureus, including USA300 with or without Hla. The second portion of the study tested what is known as active and passive immunity, with mice being immunized with a non-lethal version of the toxin or injected with Hla-specific antibodies, respectively. Both types of immunization protected mice from skin lesions that typically destroy skin and surrounding tissue.

The group noted that multiple S. aureus molecules must contribute to skin infection because simply removing or neutralizing Hla did not completely prevent the formation of skin abscesses, although the abscesses were smaller in size.

Study collaborators from the University of Chicago, Olaf Schneewind, M.D., Ph.D., and Juliane Bubeck Wardenburg, M.D., Ph.D.,contributed the Hla treatment concept, which they developed through their recent work on S. aureus pneumonia. Dr. DeLeo's group adapted that work to their mouse model of skin infection, which is a good indicator of how abscess size and skin destruction could affect humans, according to the study investigators.

"This toxin is probably one of the most promising targets we currently have in our efforts to develop therapeutics that protect against severe Staph aur
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Contact: Ken Pekoc
kpekoc@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Source:Eurekalert  

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