Vitamin B3 helps fight staph infections in mice

Staph infections are responsible for an increasing number of life threatening infections and the bacteria that cause these infections are widespread in the community and the health care system.

The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus normally resides on skin and in noses and typically infects tissues through cuts or rashes. The infections can remain minor, but they can also lead to illnesses ranging from abscesses and boils to necrotizing skin infections, pneumonia, or blood stream infections.

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles have been working to identify immune system components that fight off bacterial infections. Humans that lack a molecule known as C/EBPε are missing an important bacteria-fighting component of their immune systems and are highly susceptible to bacterial infections, including staph.

In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Dr. George Liu and colleagues demonstrate that C/EBPε -deficient mice are also highly susceptible to staph infections and increasing the expression of C/EBPε allowed the mice to clear the infection. Vitamin B3 has previously been shown to increase expression of C/EBPε.

Pre-treating the mice with vitamin B3 resulted in significantly increased infection clearance, suggesting that vitamin B3 may help the immune system to kill bacteria and clear infections.

TITLE:C/EBPε mediates nicotinamide-enhanced clearance of Staphylococcus aureus in mice