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Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2006 Jun;8(4):271-9.

New concepts in the pathophysiology of infective endocarditis.

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Department of Fundamental Microbiology, University of Lausanne, Biophore building, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Endocarditis pathogens colonize valves with pre-existing sterile vegetations or valves with minimal endothelial lesions. Inflamed endothelia produce cytokines, integrins, and tissue factor, which in turn attract fibronectin, monocytes, and platelets. Bacteria attaching to such structures further activate the cascade, becoming embedded and protected from host defenses. Staphylococcus aureus also actively invade the endothelium, causing apoptosis and endothelial damage. Knowledge of this interplay identifies host factors as potential therapeutic targets. Blocking infection by modulating host factors might be opportune because host factors are conserved. In contrast, interfering with bacterial virulence factors might be more complicated because they vary among different bacteria.


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