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Bacterial Sentinels of Noses

Friendly sinus bacteria may keep sinusitis-causing strains in check.

By | September 12, 2012

image: Bacterial Sentinels of Noses WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Researchers link a bacteria species, once believed to be innocuous, to chronic sinusitis—persistent inflammation of the sinuses—and also come up with an unusual potential cure. Introducing a second bacterial species into the noses of mice prevented the sinusitis-causing strain from gaining a foothold and causing symptoms. The study, published today (Sept 12) in Science Translational Medicine, suggests that maintaining and augmenting the normal microflora of the nose may be an effective sinusitis treatment.

“This is an extremely interesting result with fascinating potential implications for the treatment of disease,” said Martin Desrosiers, an ear, nose and throat specialist at the Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu in Montréal, Québec, who was not involved in the research. “[It’s]  a radical and exciting idea…[that] gives us new insight into chronic sinusitis,” he said.

Despite sinusitis being one of the commonest afflictions—affecting some 15 percent of the US population annually—little is known about the etiology of the disease. Pathogenic bacterial strains such as Staphylococcus and Streptococcus species—which are known to cause infections of other parts of the respiratory system—have been identified in sinusitis patients and are considered “the usual suspects,” said Susan Lynch, a clinical microbiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.  But, these species have also been detected in the sinuses of healthy individuals, she added. “Just because you find these organisms, it does not mean they are driving disease.”

So Lynch and her colleagues analyzed mucus samples from the sinuses of seven patients who were undergoing surgery for severe chronic sinusitis and seven healthy controls undergoing nose surgery for other reasons. Using a high-throughput microarray screening technique, they found that samples from patients tended to have less diversity of bacterial species than those of healthy controls. Furthermore the relative abundance of certain species differed between patients and controls. Sinusitis patients’s noses were enriched with a skin bacteria called Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum, for example, while samples from healthy controls were enriched with Lactobacillus bacteria, including L. sakei.

Though C. tuberculostearicum “was truly not considered as a pathogen,” said Desrosiers, the results suggest that overabundance of this normally innocuous bug could be the cause of sinus inflammation.

The team confirmed this suspicion in mice, showing that a dose of C. tuberculostearicum delivered into the mice’s nasal cavities caused the animals to develop sinusitis symptoms. A dose of L. sakei, on the other hand, induced no such symptoms. Furthermore, delivering a combination of both L. sakei and C. tuberculostearicum also did not cause sinusitis-like symptoms, suggesting that L. sakei might offer protection against sinus infection. Indeed, in these co-treated mice, the abundance of C. tuberculostearicum dwindled while L. sakei levels remained high. Exactly how L. sakei combats C. tuberculostearicum remains to be tested

“The notion that some bacterial species appear to be protective is something that, in the future, we may be able to use from a therapeutic standpoint, which is of course very exciting,” said Ellen Wald, an expert in pediatric sinusitis at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, who did not participate in the study.

However, seven patients “is an extremely limited data set,” Desrosiers cautioned. “These [results] need to be replicated in other places with more patients prior to their integration into clinical practice.” For one thing, it is possible that a variety of bacterial species could cause sinusitis symptoms, and it is not clear whether L. sakei would be protective in all cases.

Somewhat ironically, Lynch was suffering from a cold and blocked sinuses when talking to The Scientist. Asked whether she was tempted to self-treat with L. sakei, she said only, “the guy who swallowed Helicobactor pylori got a Nobel prize, right? So the stakes are high.”

 

N. A. Abreu et al., “Sinus microbiome diversity depletion and Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum enrichment mediates rhinosinusitis,” Science Translational Medicine, doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003783, 2012.

 

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Avatar of: niketnsko

niketnsko

Posts: 9

September 13, 2012

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Avatar of: corrigible

corrigible

Posts: 42

September 13, 2012

Thank you for still one more example that substantiates my assumption that when and if we attempt to establish human colonies on other planets, we are going to encounter an enormous number of complications, including -- but not limited to -- physiological complications resulting from ABSENCE of specific micro-biota and allergins.
I discern that in the ABSENCE of certain biota, viruses, prions, allergins the internal physiological mechanisms, enzootic and epizootic, host versus non-host ecology, will "react."
Even as the human psyche begins to hallucinate, in sensory deprivation experiments, I expect that the human immune system components, not having the perceived "enemies" to contend with, will become the human hosts' own worst enemy.
Bubble experiments, with subjects having autoimmune deficiencies, have hardly even scratched the surface of what will occur with animal (and someday human) Earth-ecology-adapted subjects, when they are subject to the kinds of non-Earty-typical ecologies that will be posed by bubble-ecologies, sans many of the accustomed flora and fauna and atmospherical admixtures of chemicals and pathogens and immuno-typical challenges.
Is there such thing as an overly-sterile bubble ecology in which we humans would be better off without some of our perceived environmental enemies, and without some of the "players" we currently perceive to be "indifferent" insofar as impacting our homeostasis?
Deprived of counter-acting biota or chemical factors, some now-seemingly beneficent immuno-mechanisms might become deleterious. Deprived of competing organisms, some of the organisms in our lungs and guts and bodies -- certain prions, for example, might behave differently than they do here. Some enemies might be discovered to be friends in disguise; and some friendly organisms and physiological mechanisms (especially immunological ones) might turn out to be wolves in sheep's clothing.
Before we submit colonies of individuals to bubble-ecologies on other planets, we would do well to find out here, what currently unexpected developments we should anticipate.

Avatar of: viktor belousov

viktor belousov

Posts: 12

September 14, 2012

Cause of sinusitis is a violation in the femoral artery. Stimulation of feet legs, able to cure sinusitis.

Avatar of: Atiyah Suhaimi

Atiyah Suhaimi

Posts: 2

September 22, 2012

One great article. My mother once undergone nose surgery due to sinusitis. She had a relief after the surgery, but somehow the effect does not stay long. Few months after the surgery, she started to gain all the uncomfortable itchy and continuous sneezes.

May 26, 2014

as in the macro, so the micro; opportunism rules existence;

the orthodox classification of microbiota with regards to harm and harmlessness into pathogens and commensals is at best a moving average of truth;

the commensal today given the right opportunities will bare its fangs the next minute, just as the pathogen with back against the wall will vanish or turn quiet; quiet enough to look harmless.

 

this dynamic flux pervades all of the biological world and our 'normal' is a snap shot at any particular point in time in a movie that stretches across the evolutuonary timeline; past present future.

not infrequently that snapshot sells science short and the errors or inaccuracies therefrom are left to be corrected by those whose luck is merely being at the right place at the right time.

 

being at the right place at the right time has more been responsible for the victories of science than any deliberate prescientism.

 

nowhere is this more so than in the living and hide and seek world of microbiomes.

our body is one vast array of hosts and guests,  with,  dare i say, interchangeable roles based on time and chance, be this in the gut, vagina, urinary spaces, nervous system etc..

May 26, 2014

as in the macro, so the micro; opportunism rules existence;

the orthodox classification of microbiota with regards to harm and harmlessness into pathogens and commensals is at best a moving average of truth;

the commensal today given the right opportunities will bare its fangs the next minute, just as the pathogen with back against the wall will vanish or turn quiet; quiet enough to look harmless.

 

this dynamic flux pervades all of the biological world and our 'normal' is a snap shot at any particular point in time in a movie that stretches across the evolutuonary timeline; past present future.

not infrequently that snapshot sells science short and the errors or inaccuracies therefrom are left to be corrected by those whose luck is merely being at the right place at the right time.

 

being at the right place at the right time has more been responsible for the victories of science than any deliberate prescientism.

 

nowhere is this more so than in the living and hide and seek world of microbiomes.

our body is one vast array of hosts and guests,  with,  dare i say, interchangeable roles based on time and chance, be this in the gut, vagina, urinary spaces, nervous system etc..

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