Editor's Summary

9 October 2008

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria: why are they so successful?


Why antibiotic-resistant bacteria are so successful at causing infections in patients being treated with antibiotics is a something of a mystery. One previously unrecognized factor is reported in this issue: treatment with the broad-spectrum antibiotic vancomycin increases infection with resistant bacteria by compromising intestinal innate immunity. In mice receiving the antibiotic, intestinal expression of the antimicrobial protein, RegIIIgamma was suppressed. RegIIIgamma is notably effective against vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), a common infection in hospitalized patients. Therapies that increase levels of this protein, such as orally administered lipopolysaccharide, may therefore be of use in patients receiving broad-spectrum antibiotics.

LetterVancomycin-resistant enterococci exploit antibiotic-induced innate immune deficits

Katharina Brandl, George Plitas, Coralia N. Mihu, Carles Ubeda, Ting Jia, Martin Fleisher, Bernd Schnabl, Ronald P. DeMatteo & Eric G. Pamer

doi:10.1038/nature07250