When bacteria enter the urinary tract, cells there secrete antimicrobial factors to thwart infection, report researchers in the June issue of Nature Medicine.
Annelie Brauner and colleagues show that the antimicrobial peptide cathelicidin, which is known to protect the skin from infection, is also made in the urinary tract of mice and humans when bacteria invade. The antimicrobial peptides kill most invading bacteria, and protect the urinary tract from infection. But bacterial strains that are resistant to cathelicidin can still cause infection, and are associated with severe urinary tract infections in humans.
These findings by Brauner and colleagues suggest that cathelicidin is an important endogenous factor in maintaining urinary tract health, and that some bacteria are more toxic because they are resistant to this microbicide.
Annelie Brauner (Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
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