Category Archives: Immunology, inflammation, infectiology and microbiology

Hormone therapy has a bigger impact than chemotherapy on women’s quality of life

Analysis of the CANTO cohort published in the journal Annals of Oncology will upset received wisdom on the effects that hormone therapy and chemotherapy have on the quality of life in women with breast cancer. Contrary to the commonly held view, 2 years after diagnosis, hormone therapy, a highly effective breast cancer treatment worsens quality of life to a greater extent and for a longer time, especially in menopausal patients. The deleterious effects of chemotherapy are more transient.

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Dysentery: Shigella, bacteria with adaptation to respiration

Imagerie montrant la déplétion de l'oxygène au sein de la muqueuse intestinale par Shigella (vert), induisant une hypoxie (rouge) au sein des foyers infectieux inflammatoires (neutrophiles: marqués à l'aide du Myelotracker, bleu).

Bacillary dysentery caused by the intestinal bacteria Shigella is a major health problem in tropical regions and developing countries. Complications from this infection lead to several hundred thousand deaths a year, primarily among infants. Researchers from Inserm and the Institut Pasteur have studied the mechanisms of Shigella virulence. They found that these bacteria are not only able to consume the oxygen in colonic tissue in order to grow and create foci of infection, but can also adapt their mode of respiration so that they can continue to grow once the oxygen in these foci has been used up.

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Identified: A Protein Essential for Chikungunya Virus Replication

Chikungunya is characterized by high fever and intense joint and muscle pain that can last for several months. The mechanisms of infection of human cells with the virus remain very poorly understood. Led by Ali Amara in collaboration with Marc Lecuit researchers from Inserm, Institut Pasteur, CNRS and Université de Paris have identified a protein that is crucial in order for the virus to replicate within its target cells.

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Disarming a probiotic to improve its benefits

In a recent study, researchers managed to decipher certain pathways by which Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 produces both beneficial and toxic compounds. They then successfully created a modified strain with the same probiotic properties but an unactivated version of the toxin.

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A Single Dose of Yellow Fever Vaccine Does Not Offer Lasting Protection to all Children

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a single dose of the yellow fever vaccine for individuals aged 9 months or older living in or traveling to areas at risk of disease transmission, but there is a lack of data on its long-term efficacy when administered to infants. José Enrique Mejía, Inserm researcher at Unit 1043 Center for Pathophysiology of Toulouse Purpan and Cristina Domingo from the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin have recently shown that around half of children initially protected by the vaccination at 9 months of age lose that protection within the next 2 to 5 years, due to disappearance of the neutralizing antibodies.

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New prebiotics: benefits without the downsides?

A research group led by Matteo Serino, Inserm researcher at the Digestive Health Research Institute (Inserm/Inra/ENVT/UT3 Paul Sabatier), has recently shown three plant extracts to have prebiotic effects in obese/diabetic mice, with a shorter duration of treatment and at lower doses to the prebiotics currently in use.

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High-risk pregnancy: the interferon effect

Des chercheurs ont identifié un nouveau mécanisme cellulaire qui altère la formation du placenta et pourrait ainsi provoquer des complications graves pendant la grossesse. Il est lié à la production d’interféron, une molécule qui est produite en réponse à certaines infections, notamment virales.

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Anaphylactic shock: IgG antibodies and neutrophils play an unexpected role

Anticorps. © Adobe Stock

Anaphylactic shock, an exacerbated allergic reaction that can prove fatal, is sometimes caused by the use of drugs during surgery. In most of these extreme reactions, evidence can be provided that patients have anti-drug antibodies of the IgE class. In 10 to 20% of anaphylactic cases evidence for the involvement of anti-drug IgE is lacking. Anti-drug IgE enable activation of mast cells and basophils that release histamine, a potent mediator involved in anaphylaxis. Teams of researchers have successfully identified a new pathological mechanism responsible for these previously unexplained cases.

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New Antibiotics Developed by Inserm and Université de Rennes 1

Résistances émergentes aux antibiotiques

Researchers from Inserm and Université de Rennes recently identified a new bacterial toxin which they transformed into potent antibiotics active against various bacteria responsible for human infections.

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Explaining Chronic and Relapsing Eczema

The researchers discovered that not only do the allergens persist in the skin for several weeks but also that they are not alone in doing so. Indeed, immune cells – known as tissue-resident memory T cells – proliferate at the lesion sites and remain there for long periods, reactivating the onset of eczema patches in the event of re-exposure to the allergen.

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