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Researchers’ discovery may explain difficulty in treating Lyme disease

Filed in National Health News 6/1/15 at 1:52 pm     1304     ScienceDaily

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity researchers have found that the bac­terium that causes Lyme dis­ease forms dor­mant per­sister cells, which are known to evade antibi­otics. This sig­nif­i­cant finding, they said, could help explain why it’s so dif­fi­cult to treat the infec­tion in some patients.

“It hasn’t been entirely clear why it’s dif­fi­cult to treat the pathogen with antibi­otics since there has been no resis­tance reported for the causative agent of the dis­ease,” explained Uni­ver­sity Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor Kim Lewis, who led the North­eastern research team.

In other chronic infec­tions, Lewis’ lab has tracked the resis­tance to antibi­otic therapy to the pres­ence of per­sister cells–which are drug-tolerant, dor­mant vari­ants of reg­ular cells. These per­sister cells are exactly what they’ve iden­ti­fied here in Bor­relia burgdor­feri, the bac­terium that causes Lyme disease.

The researchers have also reported two approaches–one of them quite promising–to erad­i­cate Lyme dis­ease, as well as poten­tially other nasty infections.

Read the rest at ScienceDaily

Notes and Image Credits:

Header Image: The Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, is an obligate parasite that cycles between ticks and vertebrate hosts. B. burgdorferi alters the proteins expressed on its outer surface, depending on the state of each host. Therefore, by using two different specimens, and staining the specimens in accordance with these two protein coat configurations, both states are combined into a single image. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

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