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Immunol Lett. 1991 Oct;30(2):201-5.

Mechanisms involved in the evasion of the host defence by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an extracellular opportunistic pathogen, utilizes two major mechanisms to evade the host defence system. One of these mechanisms is the production of a large number of extracellular products, such as proteases, toxins, and lipases. The two proteases, alkaline protease and elastase, inhibit the function of the cells of the immune system (phagocytes, NK cells, T cells), inactivate several cytokines (IL-1, IL-2, IFN-r, TNF), cleave immunoglobulins and inactivate complement. Inhibition of the local immune response by bacterial proteases provides an environment for the colonization and establishment of chronic infection. The other mechanism by which P. aeruginosa evades the host defence system is the biofilm mode of growth of the bacteria in chronic infections. The biofilm-grown bacteria induce a low phagocyte response, and provide a barrier for the bacteria against antibodies, complement, and the cells of the immune system. Protection from the host defence system combined with increased antibiotic resistance of the bacteria in the biofilm are the major reasons for the persistence of P. aeruginosa in chronic infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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