About Careers MedBlog Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Evolving Strategies to Treat Infectious Diseases

by Kathy Jones on February 27, 2012 at 8:47 PM
Font : A-A+

 Evolving Strategies to Treat Infectious Diseases

Conventional clinical approaches in the fight against infectious diseases are based on detecting and eliminating invading pathogens.

In the latest issue of the journal Science, Miguel Soares from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (Portugal) together with Ruslan Medzhitov from Yale University School of Medicine and David Schneider from Stanford University propose that a third strategy needs to be considered: tolerance to infection, whereby the infected host protects itself from infection by reducing tissue damage and other negative effects caused by the pathogen or the immune response against the invader. The authors argue that identifying the mechanisms underlying this largely overlooked phenomenon may pave the way to new strategies to treat many human infectious diseases.

Advertisement

Upon invasion by pathogens (bacteria, viruses or parasites), the immune system kicks into action, by detecting, destroying and ultimately eliminating the pathogen. This so-called "resistance to infection" is crucial in protecting the host from infection, but is often accompanied by collateral damage to some of the host's vital tissues (liver, kidney, heart, brain). If uncontrolled tissue damage may have lethal consequences, as often happens, for example, in severe malaria, severe sepsis and possibly other infectious diseases. Tolerance reduces the harmful impact of infection and of the ensuing immune response on the host.

Although a well-studied phenomenon in plant immunity, tolerance to infection has been largely overlooked in mammals, including humans. While there is still much to be learnt about how and under which circumstances tolerance to infection is employed by the host, most of what is currently known about the molecular mechanisms underlying this host defense strategy comes from work carried out at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência by the group led by Miguel Soares. The team is particularly interested in identifying disease-specific tolerance mechanisms, on the one hand, and also general strategies of tolerance, that may, possibly, be employed protectively, to precondition the host to future infections.
Advertisement

Because resistance is, generally, the only mechanism considered in animal and human studies, when the host capitulates to infection it is often attributed to failure of the immune system. The authors argue that this is not always the case, and underscore the importance of distinguishing between failed resistance and failed tolerance as the cause for morbidity and mortality by infectious diseases. This distinction will dictate the choice of therapeutic approaches. When the primary problem is failed tolerance, then boosting the immune system, or administering antibiotics, may be ineffective. In this case, enhancing tolerance would possibly be much more effective in fighting infectious, inflammatory and auto-immune diseases.



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
What's New on Medindia
Diet and Oral Health: The Sugary Connection May Become Sour
World AIDS Day 2022 - Equalize!
Test Your Knowledge on Sugar Intake and Oral Health
View all
News Archive
Date
Category
Advertisement
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Most Popular on Medindia

Post-Nasal Drip The Essence of Yoga Turmeric Powder - Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects Blood Donation - Recipients Pregnancy Confirmation Calculator Blood Pressure Calculator Vent Forte (Theophylline) Drug Side Effects Calculator Diaphragmatic Hernia Drug - Food Interactions
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close
×

Evolving Strategies to Treat Infectious Diseases Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests