The presence of a harmless bacterium found in the nose and on the skin may negatively impact the growth of a pathogen that commonly causes middle ear infections in children and pneumonia in children and older adults, says a new study.
The study provides evidence that Corynebacterium accolens (C. accolens) helps inhibit Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) — a major cause of pneumonia, meningitis, middle ear infection and sinusitis.
The results pave the way for potential future research to determine whether C. accolens might have a role as a beneficial bacterium that could be used to control pathogen colonization.
According to the World Health Organization, S. pneumoniae leads to more than one million deaths each year, primarily in young children in developing countries.
Although most people that host S. pneumoniae do not develop these infections, colonisation greatly increases the risk of infection and transmission.
In the study, Lindsey Bomar from Forsyth Institute in Massachusetts, US, and colleagues demonstrate that C. accolens are over-represented in the noses of children that are not colonised by S. pneumoniae, which is commonly found in children’s noses and can cause infection.
In laboratory research, the researchers further found that C. accolens modifies its local habitat in a manner that inhibits the growth of S. pneumoniae by releasing anti-bacterial free fatty acids from representative host skin surface triacylglycerols.
The study was published in the journal mBio.