Some individuals pre-disposed to recurrent c. diff infections

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Some individuals are predisposed — either genetically or due to an underlying inflammatory condition — to recurrent Clostridium difficile infections, new research finds.

Individuals with recurrent cases of c. diff produce a more inflammatory pattern of cytokines (a protein) in response to the infection than those with an initial infection, investigators said. They observed this by collecting blood samples from people with initial cases of c. diff, those with recurrent cases, and healthy people.

They noticed that if a patient's immune system does not adequately clear the infection after the initial exposure, this could result in continuous infection or re-infection. In this case, targeting the infection the cellular level could elicit the best outcome, they say.

"In knowing that these cells respond differently in different people, we may be able to tailor treatment and avoid the onset of a chronic condition," University of Cincinnati researcher Mary Beth Yacyshyn, Ph.D., said.

The research was presented via poster Monday at the Digestive Disease Week seminar, held in San Diego. The research was funded through the Merck-Investigator Initiated studies program.

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