Saturday 13 March 2021

Scientists develop vaccine strategy for urinary tract infections


Researchers describe a new vaccination strategy that they think could re-program the body to fight off the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.

The strategy, which the team showed to be effective in mouse models, involves re-programming an inadequate immune response that the team identified last year. They observed that when mouse bladders get infected with E. coli bacteria, the immune system dispatches repair cells to heal the damaged tissue, while launching very few warrior cells to fight off the attacker. This causes bacteria to never fully clear, living on in the bladder to attack again.

According to lead author Jianxuan Wu, Ph.D., who recently earned his doctorate from the Department of Immunology at Duke, "the new vaccine strategy attempts to 'teach' the bladder to more effectively fight off the attacking bacteria. By administering the vaccine directly into the bladder where the residual bacteria harbor, the highly effective vaccine antigen, in combination with an adjuvant known to boost the recruitment of bacterial clearing cells, performed better than traditional intramuscular vaccination."

The researchers reported that bladder-immunized mice effectively fought off infecting E. coli and eliminated all residual bladder bacteria, suggesting the site of administration could be an important consideration in determining the effectiveness of a vaccine.

See: Jianxuan Wu, Chunjing Bao, R. Lee Reinhardt, and Soman N. Abraham. Local induction of bladder Th1 responses to combat urinary tract infections. PNAS, March 9, 2021 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2026461118

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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