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Microbial and Environmental Factors in Autoimmune and Inflammatory Diseases

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889451555 Year: Pages: 193 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-155-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Microbiology --- Science (General) --- Allergy and Immunology --- Medicine (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-08-28 14:01:09
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Abstract

In recent years there has been a substantial increase in the number of diseases with the inflammatory component such as such as allergy, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowl disease (IBD, which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease), chronic sinusitis, and many other conditions. The majority of these diseases are multifactorial, with the contribution of genetic and environmental factors. Among the latter, the role of certain microorganisms and viruses in triggering or sustaining the inflammatory process is most controversial. In rheumatoid arthritis, for example, the following bacteria and viruses have been implicated in triggering the disease: Mycoplasma spp., Proteus mirabilis, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus spp., Bordetella spp., Acinetobacter spp., the parvoviruses, Epstein-Barr virus, and retroviruses. The list of putative microbial triggers of rheumatoid arthritis is still growing, and it becomes essentially impossible to make a causation link between certain infectious agents and the disease. In the light of these disappointing results there are calls for even larger studies with the use of more advanced and large-scale technologies. The primary function of the immune system is the maintenance of body homeostasis and protection against any threats to it via several lines of elaborate and complex immune defense. Given even higher complexity that involves the microbiota and the corresponding host-microbe interaction, the conditions for this equilibrium become even more challenging. In the absence of a defined pathogen, for example, the spectrum of microorganisms involved in triggering inappropriate immune responses may include polymicrobial communities or the cumulative effect of several microbial/viral factors. Under the normal circumstances there is a fine-tuned balance between commensal microbiota and the host’s immune responses. However, when this balance is compromised, for example in IBD, a massive immune response is launched against commensal microbiota resulting in chronic inflammation. Besides the microbial/viral factors, the balance of the immune system can be compromised by other causes. Given, for example, the close and inclusive interaction of the immune, nervous and endocrine systems, the list of these provoking factors can expand even more. For instance, it has been demonstrated that even mild sleep deprivation may increase the production of interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein. Understanding the complex role of microbial and environmental factors in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, therefore, is the main subject of this topic.

Lyme Disease: Recent Advances and Perspectives

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195572 Year: Pages: 114 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-557-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Internal medicine
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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The interplay between host and pathogen is a complex co-evolutionary battle of surveillance and evasion. The pathogen continuously develops mechanisms to subvert the immune response in order to establish infection while the immune system responds with novel mechanisms of detection. Because the majority of Lyme disease pathology is due to an over-exuberant immune response, much research in Borrelia burgdorferi pathogenesis has been devoted to understanding the mammalian host response to the bacterium. Immunological studies continue to be an active area of research employing emerging techniques, such as intra-vital imaging. These studies have furthered our understanding of inflammatory processes during long-term infection and provided some surprising insights, such as the continued presence of bacterial products after clearance. The field of Lyme disease has long debated the etiology of long-term inflammation and recent studies in the murine host have shed light on relevant cell types and inflammatory mediators that participate in the pathology of Lyme arthritis. Live imaging and bioluminescent studies have allowed for a novel view of the bacterial life cycle, including the tick mid-gut, tick-to-mammal transmission and dissemination throughout a mouse. A number of tick and bacterial proteins have been shown to participate in the completion of the enzootic cycle. Novel mechanisms of gene regulation are continuously being identified. However, B. burgdorferi lacks many traditional virulence factors, such as toxins or specialized secretion systems. Many genes in the B. burgdorferi genome have no known homolog in other bacteria. Therefore, studies focusing on host-pathogen interactions have therefore been limited by an incomplete understanding of the repertoire of bacterial virulence factors. Questions such as how the pathogen causes disease, colonizes the tick and evades host immune-surveillance have been difficult to address. Genetic studies involving single gene deletions have identified a number of important bacterial proteins, but a large-scale genomics approach to identify virulence factors has not been attempted until recently. The generation of a site-directed mutagenesis library is an important step towards a detailed analysis of the B. burgdorferi genome and pathogenome. Using this library, high-throughput genomic studies, utilizing techniques such as massively parallel sequencing have been promising and could be used to identify novel virulence determinants of disease in the mammalian host or persistence in the tick vector. Continued research on this unique pathogen and its specific interaction with host and vector may have far reaching consequences and provide insights for diverse disciplines including ecology, infectious disease, and immunology. Here, several reviews will discuss the most recent advances and future studies to be undertaken in the field of B. burgdorferi biology.

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