AKCCHF Grant #02118-A

Targeting the Mechanism of Bacterial Adherence during Pyometra to Develop an Effective, Non-Invasive Treatment for Disease. Cordula Bartel, PhD, University of Veterinary Medicine of Vienna

Update! Final Summary Report

Abstract from AKCCHF.org website:

Pyometra is the most common uterine disease in intact bitches leading to potentially life-threatening complications due to the systemic inflammation that occurs as a result of infection. We know that E. coli bacteria are the most abundant infectious agents associated with pyometra in bitches, but how and why these bacteria are able to colonize the endometrium and cause disease is unclear. In a previous study Dr. Bartel’s research group characterized a unique epithelial cell type known as foam cells on the canine endometrial surface. Foam cells occur most often during diestrus (also called metestrus), the cyclic stage most commonly associated with the occurrence of pyometra. Foam cell formation appears to be part of the normal physiological process of preparation of an embryo for implantation. From other species we know that the foamy appearance of the epithelial cells is caused by lipid droplet accumulation and that the uptake of lipids from the blood is accomplished via special lipid receptors on these cells known as SR-B1. Interestingly, SR-B1 is a strong binding partner for bacteria and Dr. Bartel’s lab hypothesizes that this receptor is a major contributor to the development of pyometra. They also believe selective blocking of this receptor will lead to a reduction of clinical signs of inflammation and decreased convalesce-time and tissue damage during pyometra. The first step to testing this hypothesis is to detect SR-B1 in the canine endometrial epithelial cells and to elucidate its role in lipid accumulation in endometrial epithelial cells during pyometra development. In this pilot project these researchers will evaluate SR-B1 mRNA and protein in the canine endometrium with the goal of ultimately establishing a new, non-invasive pyometra treatment that impairs bacterial adhesion to the endometrial wall.