The bacterium Streptococcus pyognes, or Group A Streptococus (GAS), is a common human pathogen and the primary cause of strep throat. While GAS infection of the throat is easily treatable, there are several chronic pathological conditions with varying degrees of association to recurrent GAS infection known to exist, including some neuropsychiatric disorders.
Dritan Agalliu, Ph.D., a visiting assistant professor, Developmental and Cell Biology, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Minnesota, sought to identify a mechanistic link between recurrent GAS infection and alterations in normal brain function. Using a mouse model of reoccurring intranasal GAS infection, Professor Agalliu and his colleagues found that mice that received multiple GAS infections had immune cells specific to the Streptococcus bacterium within their brains. The presence of the immune cells was accompanied by additional signs of neuroinflammation and deficits in synaptic connectivity. The results of Professor Agalliu’s findings were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. To read more about the study click here.