Scientists find bacteria that cause UTI hiding inside bladder cells
By Julie Bierach, KWMU
SAINT LOUIS, MO – Results of a study at Washington University reveal more about how bacteria cause urinary tract infections.
Scientists are hopeful the findings will lead to the development of better diagnoses and treatments for UTI s.
Researchers looked at human urine samples and found that some of the bacteria that cause bladder infections invade bladder cells. David Rosen, an M.D/Ph.D student conducted some of the research. He says the bacteria form communities known as biofilm and anchor themselves in infected cells.
"And the nice thing about being in a cell for a bacterium is that it then can't get gobbled up by some of the cells of the immune system," said Rosen.
Because the bacteria invade the cells, the infection is harder to treat.
"Up until this point, people haven't considered the fact that these bacteria are hiding out inside cells. So most of the antibiotics that we use actually very poorly penetrate the cells that their hiding in," adds Rosen. "So we will need to look into whether or not certain drugs or antibiotics that have better cell penetration will be better at cleaning some of these bacteria."
More than half of all women will experience a UTI, 20-40% of whom will suffer a recurrent infection.