Research ArticleINFECTIOUS DISEASE

Group B Streptococcus circumvents neutrophils and neutrophil extracellular traps during amniotic cavity invasion and preterm labor

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Science Immunology  14 Oct 2016:
Vol. 1, Issue 4, eaah4576
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aah4576

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NETting group B strep

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infection in pregnant women can lead to preterm birth and fetal injury. Boldenow et al. report that a hemolytic pigment toxin from GBS contributes to these effects by subverting neutrophils and neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in placental membranes. They found in a nonhuman primate model that adverse outcomes were more closely associated with hemolytic than with nonhemolytic GBS, and that GBS hemolytic pigment toxin induced cell death in neutrophils and prevented killing by NETs, allowing GBS to invade the amniotic fluid. This toxin therefore could serve as a target to prevent complications from GBS in pregnant women.