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Oral Bacterium Fights Infection in Patients With Cystic Fibrosis

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Understanding the dynamics between two microbes found in the biofilm of patients with cystic fibrosis may lead to new treatments for respiratory infections in this population. Published in PLOS Pathogens, the study, “A Commensal Streptococcus Hijacks a Pseudomonas aeruginosa Exopolysaccharide to Promote Biofilm Formation,” reports that Streptococcus parasanguinis may interfere with P. aeruginosa — a pathogen responsible for respiratory inflammation. “These findings provide insight into how oral commensals may infiltrate the cystic fibrosis polymicrobial biofilm and inhibit P. aeruginosa pathogenesis,” the authors state.

Led by Hui Wu, PhD, a professor in the departments of pediatric dentistry and microbiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the researchers further characterize P. aeruginosa as a major pathogen for cystic fibrosis infection that is resistant to antibiotic therapy.

S. parasanguinis, the most abundant streptococcus in the oral cavity (and upon which other microbes attach to build biofilms), has the ability to kill numerous pathogens. Based on the team’s current and previous findings, the authors suggest, “The incorporation of S. parasanguinis could limit chronic infection in the airway of patients with cystic fibrosis … and serve as an effective strategy to limit the impact of chronic infection caused by mucoid P. aeruginosa isolates.”

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