Salmonella infection mitigates asthma

Researchers from Germany have identified the mechanism by which Salmonella infections can reduce the incidence of asthma in mice. The research, which appears ahead of print in the journal Infection and Immunity, opens up new avenues of research that could lead to treatments.

Incidence of allergies has climbed dramatically in recent years. A leading theory, the "hygiene hypothesis," posits that this surge results from the modern western obsession with cleanliness, which is leaving immune systems inexperienced and improperly developed. Earlier research had suggested that there is a reduced incidence of asthma in children who have been infected with Salmonella.

In their study, as per previous research, the investigators saw that Salmonella infection correlated with reduced , says first author Venkateswaran Ganesh.

Ganesh traced the reduction in inflammation to reduced production of an inflammatory compound called interleukin-4, which is produced by T helper-2 cells.

Ganesh found that an increase in production of a certain type of "myeloid" immune cell was responsible for regulating the T helper-2 cells to produce less interleukin-4. Myeloid cells include an array of , and are ultimately derived from the bone marrow. "By performing cell culture assays and studies in rodents, we could determine the influence of on Th2 cells," he explains.

The research could lead to treatments based on the use of commensal bacteria (harmless, oft-helpful inhabitants of the body) resembling Salmonella as probiotics, or the application of myeloid cells as therapeutics, says Ganesh.

Roughly 26 million Americans, 8.2 percent of the population, have asthma, including 7.1 million (9.5%) children, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More information: www.asm.org/images/Communicati… /2014/0114asthma.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Typhoid Fever: A race against time

Jan 16, 2014

The life-threatening disease typhoid fever results from the ongoing battle between the bacterial pathogen Salmonella and the immune cells of the body. Prof. Dirk Bumann's research group at the Biozentrum ...

Fighting asthma drug resistance

Jan 10, 2014

Current asthma treatments include drugs that open up the tubes of the lungs and corticosteroids that fight lung inflammation. Some patients, however, are stubbornly resistant to corticosteroids, limiting ...

Salmonella jams signals from bacteria-fighting mast cells

Dec 12, 2013

A protein in Salmonella inactivates mast cells—critical players in the body's fight against bacteria and other pathogens—rendering them unable to protect against bacterial spread in the body, according to res ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover neuroprotective role of immune cell

Jul 22, 2014

A type of immune cell widely believed to exacerbate chronic adult brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis (MS), can actually protect the brain from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and may slow the ...

User comments