Monday, September 24, 2012

New agents, Antimicrobial peptides, join the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Line Hein-Kristensen worked with a new class of antimicrobial agents, the so-called antimicrobial peptides. Antimicrobial peptides are part of the immune system in all life forms, including humans, and constitute the first line of defence against pathogenic organisms entering the body, e.g. via the food that we eat.

Antimicrobial peptides are special in that they act differently to conventional antibiotics and may thus be active against the very bacteria that are resistant to conventional antibiotics. These also include multiresistant bacteria – for example MRSA and ESBL against which we now have only a limited arsenal of treatment options.

Synthetic compound emulating nature.........................

Novel chemical methods have now made it possible to emulate the structure of natural antimicrobial peptides and thus also to develop many novel synthetic variants. Line Hein-Kristensen's PhD project focuses specifically on a series of synthetic compounds that have been designed, synthetised and characterised the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

The findings of her research show that the degree of antimicrobial activity against a range of food-borne and nosocomial (hospital-acquired) pathogenic bacteria depends on the chemical structure of custom-designed compounds. The research also shows that the synthetic antimicrobial peptides kill the bacteria by disrupting the bacterial cell membrane.

No comments: