* Text Courtesy IANS
*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
(IANS) A common vitamin may potentially provide a powerful tool to fight 'superbugs', antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus infections that health experts view as a threat to public health.
The research found that high doses of the nicotinamide form of vitamin B3 stimulated a specific gene (CEBPE), enhancing white blood cells' ability to combat staphylococcus infections, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.
Staph infections commonly cause serious, sometimes life-threatening, illness. Health officials fear that indiscriminate use of antibiotics has led to the rapid rise of resistant germs, The Journal of Clinical Investigation reports.
In lab tests with mice and human blood, Cedars-Sinai Maxine Dunitz Children's Health Centre scientists found that vitamin B3 increased by up to 1,000-fold the ability of the immune system to kill staph bacteria.
"It's critical that we find novel antimicrobial approaches to treat infection and not rely so heavily on antibiotics," said George Liu, paediatric infectious disease physician at Cedars-Sinai's Children's Health Centre and study co-senior, according to a Cedars-Sinai statement.
"That's why this discovery is so exciting. Our research indicates this common vitamin is potentially effective in fighting off and protecting against one of today's most important public health threats," said Liu.
Beyond its findings related to vitamin B3, the study indicates that similar targeting of the CEBPE gene with other compounds may offer a new immune-boosting strategy to fight bacterial infections.
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