Research ArticleVascular Biology

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus causes sustained collecting lymphatic vessel dysfunction

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Science Translational Medicine  17 Jan 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 424, eaam7964
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aam7964

Lymphatics limp along after MRSA

Lymphedema is associated with skin and soft tissue infections, and both can be recurring, causing continual suffering in affected patients. To better understand the relationship between bacterial infections and lymphedema, Jones et al. used intravital imaging to examine the lymphatics of mice infected with MRSA. They observed lymphatic muscle cell death, which led to prolonged dysfunction months after the bacteria had been cleared. In vitro experiments with human cells indicated that bacterial toxins were responsible for damaging the lymphatic muscle cells, suggesting that the toxins could be targeted in patients to interrupt this brutal cycle.

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