Antibodies to immune cells protect eyes in pseudomonas infection

October 23, 2012

Contact lenses, particularly the extended wear variety, render wearers vulnerable to eye infections from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These infections can cause severe damage, including blindness. Treating the eye with antibodies to the inflammatory immune compound interleukin-17 (IL-17) reduced eye damage and the number of bacteria in a mouse model. The research is published in the October Infection and Immunology.

The onslaught of Pseudomonas infection of the eye is often swift, and is aggravated by the bacterium's resistance to antibiotics. "Pseudomonas is everywhere in the environment, and can be unwittingly introduced into the lens cleaning solution, or directly onto the contact lens, so everyone who uses contact lenses is at risk," says principal investigator Gregory P. Priebe of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and Boston Children's Hospital.

known as are a major cause of the that ensues from Pseudomonas infection. IL-17 is involved in attracting neutrophils to the infected tissues. They are the vanguard of immune attack, arriving at a site of infection within an hour, trapping, and ingesting pathogens. In their pathogen-killing function, they also release noxious substances, notably elastase, an enzyme that can chew up tissues, and superoxide, which is converted into hypochlorous acid, more commonly known as chlorine bleach. Thus, the ensuing eye damage is not surprising.

Nonetheless, the strategy of blocking these pathogen killing cells risked reducing the immune system's bacteria-killing function, says Priebe. "Surprisingly, just the opposite was seen: blocking IL-17 with antibodies led both to fewer neutrophils in the eye, and to fewer bacteria," says Priebe. Thus, he says, the research may lead to effective treatments.

"We thought that blocking IL-17 infection might worsen , but found just the opposite,' says Priebe . "Interestingly, this is a common pattern in eye infections. The body's responses that make the damage worse are often the same things needed to limit infections in other tissues, such as the lung."

Explore further: Researchers discover new vaccine candidate for Pseudomonas aeruginosa

More information: T.S. Zaidi, T. Zaidi, G.B. Pier, and G.P. Priebe, 2012. Topical neutralization of interleukin-17 during experimental Pseudomonas aeruginosa corneal infection promotes bacterial clearance and reduces pathology. Infect. Immun. 80:3706-3712. bit.ly/asmtip1012c

Related Stories

Researchers discover new vaccine candidate for Pseudomonas aeruginosa

July 6, 2012
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have discovered a new vaccine candidate for the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa taking advantage of a new mechanism of immunity.

Surprising role for suppressive cytokine in antiviral immune responses

September 15, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- A molecule normally implicated in restraining immune responses is also capable of stimulating defences against virus infection, according to new research, by promoting the survival of a population of immune ...

Recommended for you

World's blind population to soar: study

August 3, 2017
The world's blind will increase threefold from about 36 million today to 115 million in 2050 as populations expand and individuals grow ever older, researchers said Thursday.

Simulations signal early success for fractal-based retinal implants

July 27, 2017
Computer simulations of electrical charges sent to retinal implants based on fractal geometry have University of Oregon researchers moving forward with their eyes focused on biological testing.

Scientists regenerate retinal cells in mice

July 26, 2017
Scientists have successfully regenerated cells in the retina of adult mice at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

Genome editing with CRISPR-Cas9 prevents angiogenesis of the retina

July 24, 2017
A research team from the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear has successfully prevented mice from developing angiogenesis of the retina—the sensory tissue at the back of the eye—using gene-editing ...

Too little vitamin D may hinder recovery of injured corneas

July 24, 2017
Injury or disease in combination with too little vitamin D can be bad for the window to your eyes.

Combination of type 2 diabetes and sleep apnoea indicates eyesight loss within four years

July 4, 2017
Research led by the University of Birmingham has discovered that patients who suffer from both Type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnoea are at greater risk of developing a condition that leads to blindness within an average ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.