London: Super-antigens, the toxins produced by some bugs, can trigger a spate of illnesses in humans due to their immune system`s strong response to bacteria.
"Super-antigens have a real talent for disrupting the body`s immune system," says study author Karin Lindkvist, cellular and molecular biologist from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, reports the journal Nature Communications.
"If you`re infected with bacteria that secrete super-antigens, your immune system will respond so strongly that it`ll make you ill," said Lindkvist, according to a Gothenburg statement.
"Our study shows that super-antigens activate the immune system in more ways than previously thought," added Lindkvist.
Yellow staphylococci, one of the commonest bugs, carried by most children and adults at some point, can cause long-term wound infections and abscesses (collection of pus) , or lead to food poisoning. Toxins produced by staphylococci are also known as super-antigens.
We are all exposed daily to various types of foreign organism that can harm us. The human body has therefore developed cells whose role it is to "kill" and remove all foreign invaders that find their way in -- the immune system.
One strain, MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), has developed resistance to penicillin and other penicillin-like antibiotics that are normally used to treat infections caused by staphylococci.