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Researchers Discover Ability of Killing Multi-Drug Resistant Superbugs in Blood Clotting Elements

Clotting factors that are involved in blood clotting after injury may offer new methods for fighting multidrug-resistant bacteria, based on a study published in Cell Research.

Infections caused by these bacteria cause an urgent public health warning, as effective drugs to combat them are missing. A deficiency in blood clotting factors—for instance in patients with the blood coagulation disorder hemophilia—has been related to bacterial infection such as sepsis and pneumonia, resulting in the suggestion that these coagulation elements may have a role in anti-infection mechanisms in addition to blood clotting.

Now a crew of researchers at Sichuan University, China, has shown that the elements VII, IX, and X—which are well-known for their roles in blood clotting—may act against Gram-negative bacteria, along with extensively drug-resistant pathogens similar to Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acetinobacter baumannii. The World Health Organisation had recently listed both microorganisms among 12 microorganisms that pose the greatest risk to human wellbeing due to their antibiotic resistance. Gram-negative bacteria are classified by their cell envelopes, which are composed of an inner cell membrane, a thin cell wall, and an outer layer that make them harder to destroy.

The ability of blood clotting factors to hydrolyze essential lipopolysaccharides in the bacterial cell envelope, suggests they could potentially be used to fight Gram-negative microorganisms.

The researchers found that the light chain of coagulation factor VII was efficient against all Gram-negative bacterial cells examined. The light chains, in addition to the clotting elements as a whole, were additionally proven to be more effective in combating Pseudomonas aruginosa and Acetinobacter baumanii infections in mice.

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