Pathogen and drug work together to fight fungal lung infection


Pathogens don’t always work against drug treatments. Sometimes, they can strengthen them, according to a new study from the University of Maine.

Diseases caused by a combination of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites – also known as polymicrobial infections – are challenging to treat because scientists do not fully understand how pathogens interact during infection and How these interactions affect the drugs used to treat them.

In a study published in the journal infection and immunity, Researchers from the Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences looked at two pathogens that often occur at similar sites, particularly in cystic fibrosis and mechanically ventilated patients: Candida albicans And pseudomonas aeruginosa,

candida is the fourth most common hospital-acquired pathogen, and is particularly difficult to treat. It is targeted by many antifungal agents, but some slow it down rather than kill it completely. During this, P. aeruginosa Infects 90% of all adult cystic fibrosis patients. Joint, C. albicans And P. aeruginosa Cystic fibrosis causes more severe disease in ventilated patients.

Researchers examined the effectiveness of an antifungal drug, fluconazole, both in test tubes and during infection of zebrafish with pathogens. Fluconazole is known to slow fungal growth, but candida may become tolerant to the drug and not only survive, but may also develop tolerance leading to unsuccessful therapy and potentially death.

What the study found was promising. The results showed that P. aeruginosa Works with Fluconazole to eliminate drug tolerance and clear it C. albicans Culture and infection in zebrafish.

“Polymicrobial infections are challenging to treat not only because of a lack of understanding of how invading microorganisms interact but also because we do not know how these interactions affect treatment efficacy. Our work demonstrates that polymicrobial interactions can actually affect treatment efficacy and, more importantly, it highlights the importance of the availability of nutrients in the environment – ​​such as iron in our study – and how this modulates treatment efficacy,” says Siham. Hattub says. The study that led to his Ph.D. Researched as part of in the Department of Molecular and Biomolecular Sciences.

What’s more, the bacteria also enhance the drug’s ability against a second pathogen. candida Species that are more resistant to the drug.

The drug’s increased effectiveness tells researchers that there is still much to learn about how current drugs work when targeting these dangerous and complex polymicrobial infections. “We’re really excited to reveal that sometimes drugs against fungal infections can work even better in more ‘real-world’ conditions than in a test tube. How pathogens interact during infection, There’s still a lot to learn about this, and it will be interesting to see how the bacteria work with drugs to target candidaRobert Wheeler, associate professor of microbiology and senior author of the study.

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Material provided by University of Maine, Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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