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What cells does MRSA bacteria attack and how?

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Quick Answer

Staphylcoccus aureus specifically attacks the body's macrophage cells, according to a 2013 article by the University of Chicago News. Staph bacteria, including methicillin-resistant strains, convert the chemicals used by white blood cells into a cytotoxic molecule which effectively destroys the body's immune system.

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Full Answer

The 2013 study of Staphylococcus aureus revealed that the bacteria not only was capable of evading the body's immune response but was actually using these responses against the host, reports the University of Chicago News. Researchers studying the bacteria noticed a distinct lack of white blood cells around specific strains of Staphylococcus. In a normal immune response, white blood cells collect around bacteria and capture it in a web of proteins and DNA, holding it until macrophages consume the bacterial invader. Upon closer investigation, scientists found that Staphylococcus aureus was using these webs of proteins and DNA to ward off macrophages. Thus scientists found that Staph is capable of converting these nets into 2-deoxyadenosine, a chemical with toxic effects to the body's macrophages.

This discovery has given researchers new ideas for treating MRSA strains, according to the University of Chicago News. Enzyme inhibitors could be used to stop Staph from producing 2-deoxyadenosine and thus allow the body to effectively fight the infection.

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