Scientists discover how skin fights bacterial infections

A new mechanism that allows the body tape, specifically to our skin, to fight wounds caused by bacterial infections has been discovered by a group of researchers from Charité -Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Researchers have discovered that it is a specific molecule, known as interleukin 6, that goes into action and it is this discovery that could be used in the future for new methods to fight infections of bacterial wounds. These wounds, in the worst cases, can in fact lead to serious consequences such as severe inflammation and septicemia.

The team of researchers led by Frank Siebenhaar, from the German Institute’s Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, analyzed how mast cells, cells of the immune system, are involved in the skin’s response to bacterial infection and in general in the healing process.

Observing the animals, the researchers realized that if the mast cells were absent at the point of the wound, the bacteria present on it were 20 times higher in number. This caused a much slower wound closure that took several days.

The researchers found that messaging interleukin 6 molecules made the beneficial action of mast cells possible. These molecules stimulate the cells of the superficial layer of the epidermis, prompting them to release antimicrobial peptides, protein chains that eliminate bacteria, as well as viruses and with mushrooms.

Researchers then replicated these processes also in human tissue in the laboratory. The same researchers believe that by artificially applying interleukin 6 to infected wounds a similar mechanism can be obtained even if this is for the moment only a hypothesis that must be demonstrated with possible experiments on human beings.

Brittany James

I have held a long career as an Illinois-based journalist starting as an administrator for Daily Journal and then as an editor for Star Courier. As a volunteer contributor for wantingwave.com, I often write and proofread content, and enjoy helping to build this website up. While my career as a journalist mainly led me to covering political and economic issues, I have maintained an interest in science as a whole throughout the course of my life.

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Brittany James