Coagulation factors, which are involved in blood clotting after injury, may offer new strategies for fighting multidrug-resistant bacteria, according to a study published in Cell Research.
Infections caused by these bacteria pose an urgent public health risk, as effective drugs to combat them are lacking. A deficiency in blood coagulation factors – for example in patients with the blood clotting disorder haemophilia – has been associated with bacterial infection diseases such as sepsis and pneumonia, leading to the suggestion that these coagulation factors may have a role in anti-infection mechanisms as well as bloody clotting.
Now a group of researchers at Sichuan University, China, has shown that the factors VII, IX, and X – which are well known for their roles in blood coagulation – may act against Gram-negative bacteria, including extensively drug resistant pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acetinobacter baumannii. Both bacteria were recently listed by the World Health Organisation among 12 bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health because of their antibiotic resistance. Gram-negative bacteria are characterized by their cell envelopes, which are composed of an inner cell membrane, a thin cell wall and an outer membrane that make them harder to kill.