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Importance of Propionibacterium acnes hemolytic activity in human intervertebral discs: A microbiological study.

TitleImportance of Propionibacterium acnes hemolytic activity in human intervertebral discs: A microbiological study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsCapoor, MN, Ruzicka, F, Sandhu, G, Rollason, J, Mavrommatis, K, Ahmed, FS, Schmitz, JE, Raz, A, Brüggemann, H, Lambert, PA, Fischetti, VA, Slaby, O
JournalPLoS One
Volume13
Issue11
Paginatione0208144
Date Published2018
ISSN1932-6203
KeywordsAnimals, Chronic Disease, Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections, Hemolysis, Humans, Intervertebral Disc, Low Back Pain, Propionibacterium acnes, Sheep
Abstract

Most patients with chronic lower back pain (CLBP) exhibit degenerative disc disease. Disc specimens obtained during initial therapeutic discectomies are often infected/colonized with Propionibacterium acnes, a Gram-positive commensal of the human skin. Although pain associated with infection is typically ascribed to the body's inflammatory response, the Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus was recently observed to directly activate nociceptors by secreting pore-forming α-hemolysins that disrupt neuronal cell membranes. The hemolytic activity of P. acnes in cultured disc specimens obtained during routine therapeutic discectomies was assessed through incubation on sheep-blood agar. The β-hemolysis pattern displayed by P. acnes on sheep-blood agar was variable and phylogroup-dependent. Their molecular phylogroups were correlated with their hemolytic patterns. Our findings raise the possibility that pore-forming proteins contribute to the pathogenesis and/or symptomology of chronic P. acnes disc infections and CLBP, at least in a subset of cases.

DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0208144
Alternate JournalPLoS One
PubMed ID30496247
PubMed Central IDPMC6264842