Dermatologists Identify How Golden Staph Attack and Affect Key Immune Cells


Dermatologists including some from the Centenary Institute and the University of Sydney have discovered something huge and it evolves exactly how golden staph operates once it enters into the skin. Apparently, when the golden staph enters the skin, it identifies and attacks our key immune cells therefore destroying our bodies’ best defense system. This clearly explains why Staphylococcus aureus is so difficult to treat.


By using the latest in microscopy techniques, for the first time ever, the team was able to see our key immune cells rally to defend against the staph, while the staph identified and destroyed them first essentially flip flopping what our body is supposed to do when under attack by a foreign bacteria or virus. Until now, the idea of what happens beneath the skin was theorized, but never actually seen. This is big news not only for scientists and doctors, but just about everyone as anyone is at risk for contracting staph. As a matter of fact, staph infections kill more people each year than AIDS and tuberculosis combined and since it’s contracted and spread primarily by the skin, it’s crucial that we understand the workings of the bacteria underneath it so we can better combat it.


Immune cells known as neutrophils are basically like front line troops protecting against any foreign and potentially dangerous bacteria. When dormant, they live within the small blood vessels. There are also larger immune cells known as macrophages that are aligned outside of our blood vessels. Here’s where it gets very interesting. Ordinarily, when bacteria enters our bodies, neutrophils begin to attack and emerge from the blood vessels primarily at the area where the macrophages are situated. Macrophages release proteins that are designed to help guide the neutrophils out of the blood vessels. The problem, dermatologists found, was that as soon as the staph entered the body, it sent out tiny seek and destroyer compounds called alpha-haemolysin that destroyed the macrophages before they ever had the chance to release their proteins necessary to release the neutrophils and this is a problem. 


This process allows the staph bacteria to just keep piling and adding up sort of like an enormous bully inside a playground of weak and scared cells. While all of this sounds terrifying, what it really means is promising. Understanding the inner workings of how a bacteria that kills thousands upon thousands of people each year works, means that we can understand how to fight and treat such threats.