A common bacterium found in undercooked
chicken can cause Guillain-Barre Syndrome
(GBS), says a study conducted by a research team at
Michigan State University.
‘Genetic type may make an individual more susceptible to certain forms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.’
The food-borne bacterium called as
causes GBS. The bacterium also offers
new information to treat the disease. Bacteria can thrive in chicken that is
not cooked to the minimum internal temperature.
Linda Mansfield, the lead author and MSU
College of Veterinary Medicine professor, said, "What our work has told us
is that it takes a certain genetic makeup combined with a certain Campylobacter
strain to cause this disease. The concerning thing is that many of these
strains are resistant to antibiotics and our work shows that treatment with
could actually make the disease
Link Between Campylobacter and Guillain-Barre
GBS is an autoimmune disease in which the
immune system attacks the nerves. It is the world's leading cause of acute
neuromuscular paralysis. The mechanism of how GBS develops is unknown.
The initial symptoms of GBS are vomiting and
diarrhea. People with GBS initially experience these two symptoms, but they
often relate it with food poisoning
experience weakness and tingling in the feet and legs after three weeks.
Gradually, the upper body and arms become paralyzed, and the individual may
need a respirator for breathing.
More than one million Americans are infected
by Campylobacter jejuni
every year. The bacterium is also
known to trigger other autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease
(IBD) and Reiter's arthritis
Preclinical Models of Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Many other bacteria and viruses have been
associated with GBS. The researchers have developed three preclinical models of
GBS to study the causes and finding better treatment and prevention options.
"We have successfully produced three
preclinical models of GBS that represent two different forms of the syndrome
seen in humans. Our models now provide a unique opportunity to understand how
your personal genetic type may make you more susceptible to certain forms of
GBS," said Mansfield.
"These models hold great potential for
discovery of new treatments for this paralysis. Many patients with GBS are
critically ill, and they can't participate in clinical trials. The models we
identified can help solve this."
The researcher hopes to test drugs against
GBS in her models. "New treatments would be wonderful, but therapeutics to
prevent GBS from developing in the first place would be the best strategy so
that people don't have to suffer from paralysis."
The federally funded research is published in
the Journal of Autoimmunity.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a disorder in which
the immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues. Most people develop this
disease after having another illness. Some of the common triggers are a viral
infection such as common cold, influenza or bacterial infection
(Campylobacter). GBS may also occur due to some medical conditions such as systemic lupus
, Hodgkin disease or even surgery.
- GBS is rare and affects only about one person in
- The syndrome can affect people of all ages. But more
common in adults, especially men.
- GBS could be
life-threatening when left untreated.
- There is no cure for
GBS. People with a severe form of GBS may require intensive care and immunological therapies.
40% of GBS cases are triggered by campylobacteriosis.
occur due to consumption of food
contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites and toxins. Food can get contaminated at the
processing or preparation stage.
Some of the common food-borne microbes are
- Salmonella - Bacteria found in undercooked eggs, meat, milk and water. Diarrhea fever and abdominal cramps are
common symptoms of Salmonella illness.
Coli - Escherichia
coli can be found in meat and meat products. It causes diarrhea and urinary
- Shigella- It spreads through contaminated food and water. Common symptoms are
nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
- Botulism - Clostridium botulinum
bacterium grows on food and produces neurotoxins that can cause paralysis. Common symptoms are fatigue, dizziness and double vision.
- Campylobacter - It spreads through poultry and milk. It
triggers Guillain-Barre Syndrome and the common symptoms are diarrhea (bloody
diarrhea in rare cases) and vomiting.
syndrome - (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/guillain-barre-syndrome/basics/risk-factors/con-20025832)
- Information About Guillain-Barré syndrome