Wednesday, June 8, 2011

That weird E. coli epidemic

Remember my previous post, in which I gave you a free slide show on the role of the appendix in keeping the gut microbiome happy?  Well, to sort of "prove the point" of the importance of a healthy gut microbiome, we've been hearing all about that weird Escherichia coli (E. coli) epidemic in Europe.

If you're like me, you'll want to take the opportunity to emphasize concepts learned in class by applying them to "real life" events reported in the news.  If you're like me, you may want to check out these journal articles:

Deadly bugs: Toxin-producing E. coli strain causes outbreak in Germany
Tina Hesman Saey
Science News web edition : Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
[Brief, highly readable introduction to the current outbreak in Europe.  Plus a cool photo!]

Bacterial infections: new and emerging enteric pathogens
Sherman, P et al.
Current Opinion in Gastroenterology:January 2010 - Volume 26 - Issue 1 - p 1-4
doi: 10.1097/MOG.0b013e328333d73b
[from the abstract: "The aim of this review is to highlight recent advances in knowledge of bacterial enteric infections. We focus on understanding of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter jejuni infections, and to link these acute events with long-term consequences in a susceptible host, including irritable bowel syndrome and chronic inflammatory bowel diseases."]

Clinical Relevance of Shiga Toxin Concentrations in the Blood of Patients With Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
Brigotti, Maurizio et al.
Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: June 2011 - Volume 30 - Issue 6 - pp 486-490
doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e3182074d22

[from the abstract: "Intestinal infections with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in children can lead to the hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Shiga toxins (Stx) released in the gut by bacteria enter the blood stream and target the kidney causing endothelial injury. Free toxins have never been detected in the blood of HUS patients, but they have been found on the surface of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN)."]

Infectious colitis
Navaneethan, Udayakumar and Giannella, Ralph A
Current Opinion in Gastroenterology: January 2011 - Volume 27 - Issue 1 - p 66–71
doi: 10.1097/MOG.0b013e3283400755
[from the abstract: "The incidence of gastrointestinal infections continues to increase and infectious colitis contributes to significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. The purpose of this review is to highlight the recent advances in knowledge of pathogens causing infectious colitis. We describe the various pathogens and specifically focus on enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7, Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, and Entamoeba histolytica infections, and their impact on long-term effects, including postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease."]

An inside job: subversion of the host secretory pathway by intestinal pathogens
Sharp, Tyler M and Estes, Mary K
Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: October 2010 - Volume 23 - Issue 5 - p 464–469
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e32833dcebd
[from the abstract: "The cellular secretory pathway, composed of the endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, and cellular vesicles, mediates the intracellular trafficking of proteins and lipids. Gastrointestinal pathogens frequently affect the functions of enterocytes, the differentiated cells involved in secretion and absorption of extracellular molecules. Microbial pathogenesis can be enhanced by altering the trafficking of key molecules such as brush border enzymes, soluble immune mediators such as cytokines and chemokines, and MHC Class I molecules, all of which rely on the secretory pathway for their appropriate cellular localization. This review focuses on our current understanding of the distinct mechanisms employed by enteric pathogens to antagonize the secretory pathway."]

Probiotics: progress toward novel therapies for intestinal diseases
Yan et al.
Current Opinion in Gastroenterology: March 2010 - Volume 26 - Issue 2 - p 95–101
doi: 10.1097/MOG.0b013e328335239a
[from the abstract "As the beneficial effects of probiotics on health and disease prevention and treatment have been well recognized, the demand for probiotics in clinical applications and as functional foods has significantly increased in spite of limited understanding of the mechanisms. This review focuses on the most recent advances in probiotic research from genetics to biological consequences regulated by probiotics and probiotic-derived factors."]

For a really cool, copyright-free image to use in your course, go to