Brandy Lauder Case Study

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Brandy Lauder broke a toe and had to get orthopedic surgery to get it repaired. She was then prescribed antibiotics for ten days. The antibiotics depleted the bacteria that kept Clostridium difficile under control, which caused her to get a debilitating infection. She first got diarrhea and then went into shock. Her intestines swelled up and she had to get surgery to give room to her swollen and blood-deprived organs.

The bacterium that caused her infection was Clostridium difficile. The bacteria already lived in her colon, but it was kept under control by other bacteria in the colon.

C. difficile gets past innate immune barriers by secreting toxins A and B (Solomon). Toxins A and B attack intestinal epithelial cells, which causes a proinflammatory
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difficile causes disease through quorum signaling and the subsequent release of toxins A and B (Darkoh et al.). The pathogenic version of C. difficile makes these toxins, while the non-pathogenic version does not make the toxins (Darkoh et al.). Quorum signaling is cell communication that tells bacteria about cell density and that mediates gene expression through signaling molecules (Darkoh et al.). The bacteria use the signaling molecules to activate genes (i.e., tcdA and tcdB) that regulate activities that are favorable when bacteria groups act simultaneously (Darkoh et al.). The simultaneous actions of the bacteria cause a great disruption in the cells of the body, which interrupt the normal processes of the immune system. The activation of the tcdA and tcdB leads to the release of toxins A and B, which mainly cause cell death (Voth and Ballard). In particular, toxin A induces enteritis and recruits neutrophils, or immune system cells, to reactivate oxygen metabolites; in turn, the neutrophils cause even more inflammation (Voth and …show more content…
Normal flora compete with pathogens for microenvironments (Singh and Kapoor 65). Microbial richness is often an indicator of health, with health adults having a vast, richness of bacterial/microbial diversity where as reduced bacterial diversity have been linked to obesity, immune-related, and inflammatory diseases. These benefits include polysaccharide digestion, immune system development, defense against infections, synthesis of vitamins, fat storage, angiogenesis regulation, and behavior development (D 'Argenio 98-101).

It would be expected that the bacteria that reside in the colon use the remainder of the food that is not digested and absorbed by an individual in the small intestine. As mentioned earlier one of the benefits of having bacteria in the gut is polysaccharide digestion, meaning that polysaccharides that are not able to be digested with the enzymes produced by a person would remain in the food until it reaches the colon and could be processed by the bacteria that reside there (D 'Argenio 98). Other than the variety of different foods that a person can not digest, therefore still present when it reaches the large intestine in the digestive tract, there are not many alternative options for the bacteria to still have a food

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