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Mycoplasma is a class of microorganism that can potentially produce chronic/persistent/latent infections within the lung with minimal signs, if any, of infection.

Mycoplasma may act as a co-factor in the genesis or exacerbation of lung disease following exposure to particulate matter (PM).

Particulate Matter/Mycoplasma Stress Interactions

From http://www.publichealth.pitt.edu/content.php?page=135&context=contextcontactus&faculty_id=151


Diverse stressors of chemical and microbial origin can produce lung inflammation and adverse cardio-respiratory health effects, however the interactions of microbial and chemical stress has received little study. Effects of single agents have been well-described clinically and experimentally. However, he hypothesizes that chemical and microbial stress can interact to produce a response that is fundamentally different or quantitatively greater than that predicted by the response to single agents alone. Atmospheric particulate matter (PM) is an important component of ambient air pollution associated with adverse health effects.
Mycoplasma is a class of microorganism that can potentially produce chronic/persistent/latent infections within the lung with minimal signs, if any, of infection. He hypothesizes that the presence of microorganisms like mycoplasma will potentiate the inflammatory/immune-modulating potential of chemical stress and, thus, act as co-factors in the genesis or exacerbation of lung disease following exposure to PM. The laboratory utilizes M. fermentans as a prototypic organism capable of latent/subclinical infection of colonization to deliberately infect lung cells in vitro in order to study the molecular and cellular basis for the synergistic interactions with PM exposure on host-cell production of immune-modulating cytokines such as IL-6. The team is seeking to uncover what particular chemical and physical properties of PM are most important for determining their cell-activating effects, most importantly, what signal transduction pathways are involved in these interactions. They also investigating whether the synergistic interactions on cytokine production are manifest at the level of activation of specific transcription factors NF-kB and AP-1. The role of oxidative stress in these synergistic interactions between is being pursued along with the role of the Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR-2) component of innate immunity in mediating the M. fermentans-dependent synergy on PM-induced cytokine production. These studies will provide valuable insight into the mechanism by which microorganisms like M. fermentans up-regulate host-defense mechanisms within the lung and their ability to modulate the inflammatory response to environmental chemicals.

 

 

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