Dr. Emil Kozarov and a team of researchers at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine have identified specific bacteria that may have a key role in vascular pathogenesis, specifically atherosclerosis, or what is commonly referred to as “hardening of the arteries” – the number one cause of death in the United States.

Fully understanding the role of infections in cardiovascular diseases has been challenging because researchers have previously been unable to isolate live bacteria from atherosclerotic tissue. Using tissue specimens from the Department of Surgery and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University, Dr. Kozarov and his team, however, were able to isolate plaques from a 78-year-old male who had previously suffered a heart attack. Their findings are explained in the latestJournal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis.

In the paper, researchers describe processing the tissue using cell cultures and genomic analysis to look for the presence of culturable bacteria. In addition, they looked at five pairs of diseased and healthy arterial tissue. The use of cell cultures aided in the isolation of the bacillus Enterobacter hormaechei from the patient’s tissue. Implicated in bloodstream infections and other life-threatening conditions, the isolated bacteria were resistant to multiple antibiotics. Surprisingly, using quantitative methods, this microbe was further identified in very high numbers in diseased but not in healthy arterial tissues.

The data suggest that a chronic infection may underlie the process of atherosclerosis, an infection that can be initiated by the systemic dissemination of bacteria though different “gates” in the vascular wall – as in the case of a septic patient, through intestinal infection. The data support Dr. Kozarov’s previous studies, where his team identified periodontal bacteria in carotid artery, thus pointing to tissue-destructing periodontal infections as one possible gate to the circulation.

Bacteria can gain access to the circulation through different avenues, and then penetrate the vascular walls where they can create secondary infections that have been shown to lead to atherosclerotic plaque formation, the researchers continued. “In order to test the idea that bacteria are involved in vascular pathogenesis, we must be able not only to detect bacterial DNA, but first of all to isolate the bacterial strains from the vascular wall from the patient,” Dr. Kozarov said.

One specific avenue of infection the researchers studied involved bacteria getting access to the circulatory system via internalization in white blood cells (phagocytes) designed to ingest harmful foreign particles. The model that Dr. Kozarov’s team was able to demonstrate showed an intermediate step where Enterobacter hormaechei is internalized by the phagocytic cells, but a step wherein bacteria are able to avoid immediate death in phagocytes. Once in circulation, Dr. Kozarov said, bacteria using this “Trojan horse” approach can persist in the organism for extended periods of time while traveling to and colonizing distant sites. This can lead to multitude of problems for the patients and for the clinicians: failure of antibiotic treatment, vascular tissue colonization and initiation of an inflammatory process, or atherosclerosis, which ultimately can lead to heart attack or stroke.

“Our findings warrant further studies of bacterial infections as a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease, and of the concept that ‘bacterial persistence’ in phagocytic cells likely contributes to systemic dissemination,” said Dr. Kozarov, an associate professor of oral biology at the College of Dental Medicine. Dr. Jingyue Ju, co-author and director of the Columbia Center for Genome Technology & Bio-molecular Engineering, also contributed to this research, which was supported in part by a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and by the Columbia University Section of Oral and Diagnostic Sciences.

The article appeared in Volume 18 of the Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis.

Source: Columbia University Medical Center

Copyright: Medical News Today

Alcohol Prep Pads, Swabs And Swabsticks Recalled Due To Possible Bacillus Cereus Contamination

07 Jan 2011

After some isopropyl alcohol prep pads, alcohol swabs and alcohol swabsticks were found to have potential Bacillus cereus contamination, The Triad Group has announced a voluntary recall. The company stresses that both its Sterile and Non-sterile marked products form part of this recall.

The company added:

“We are, out of an abundance of caution, recalling these lots to ensure that we are not the source of these contaminations issues”

The products have been marketed in the United States, Europe and Canada under various labels, including:

  • Boca/Ultilet
  • Cardinal Health
  • Conzellin
  • CVS
  • Moore Medical
  • PSS Select
  • VersaPro
  • Walgreens

The affected products may also be identified with the “Triad Group” listed as the manufacturer.

If the prep pads, alcohol swabs or alcohol swabsticks are tainted, there is a risk of life-threatening infection for the patients, especially those whose immune systems are weak, as well as individuals who have undergone surgical procedures.

The Triad Group says that just one non-life-threatening report has been received; a skin infection.

These products are used before an injection to disinfect the area. They have been distributed throughout the USA, according to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and sold in pharmacy shops in a box of 100 packets.

Triad Group customers who sell the products wholesale to hospitals and retail outlets have been notified by certified mail, with instructions on how to send them back.

If you have any of these products do not use them, take them back to where you bought them for a full refund or telephone 262-538-2900 (Triad customer services, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4pm Central Time).


Written by Christian Nordqvist 
Copyright: Medical News Today

A History of Microbiology in Philadelphia: 1880 to 2010 by Jim Poupard Ph.D.

From the erudite and recognized expert in the area of anti-infectives, with over a hundred scientific publications comes A History of Microbiology in Philadelphia: 1880 to 2010.

A History of Microbiology in Philadelphia: 1880 to 2010 is an informative book that will take readers back to 1880s when bacteriology started to become an identifiable discipline of science as it separated from established fields of medicine such as pathology, histology and microscopy. During this period, Philadelphia medical students traveled to Europe to learn more about this new specialty and brought this knowledge back to the city. This first generation of bacteriologists established crude laboratories and encouraged lectures in bacteriology to be included in the medical school curriculum.

A two-part release, the first part of this book focuses on the people and institutions that played a significant role in establishing bacteriology in Philadelphia. A second generation of bacteriologists contributed to the formation of academic departments at medical schools, research institutes, and pharmaceutical companies. In 1920, the formation of a branch of the Society of American Bacteriologists in Philadelphia set the stage for recording and documenting the evolution of bacteriology into microbiology with its many sub-specialties. This book attempts to summarize this evolution as it progressed in the Philadelphia area with an emphasis on the role the Eastern Pennsylvania Microbiology organization played in establishing Philadelphia as a center for teaching and research in this important area of science.