Researchers at Purdue University have found a new way for Listeria to enter the bloodstream. The shocking part of the discovery is that the posited pathway was previously considered benign – until now.
For Listeria to infect someone, it needs to pass through an epithelial barrier – a wall of cells protecting the bloodstream from pathogens. An experiment was conducted by feeding mice with Listeria. Mice have no functional receptor to the active protein, which means that they are immune to Listeria infection. Then, the researchers discovered that the mice became infected. Findings revealed that a reaction opened up the epithelial wall, creating an alternate pathway to the bloodstream. The researchers hypothesize that this reaction also occurs in humans.
Now that this finding has been discovered, progress can be made in preventing future infections.
Listeria affects about 600 million people worldwide every year, causing 420,000 deaths. In the United States, the annual figures are 1,600 infections and 260 deaths. Research is already underway into developing a vaccine.
To read more on the study, click here.More From: Purdue University
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