Investigating the Role of Coagulation in the Pathogenesis of Buruli Ulcer

The neglected tropical disease, Buruli ulcer, is caused by a “flesh-eating” bacteria called Mycobacterium ulcerans. We have recently made an important breakthrough in the fight against the disease, discovering that the bacteria cause a type of blood clot in patients’ skin, with similar characteristics to those that cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT). We already found an association with the loss of one particular anticoagulant gene (called thrombomodulin), but coagulation is a complex process resulting from a disturbance in the balance between pro- and anti-coagulant forces. In this project we will investigate what other coagulation components contribute to the clots (actually the depositing of a protein called fibrin in the skin tissue), and investigate the contribution of this process to the overall disease progression. This will help us design improved treatments for Buruli ulcer because, like DVT, the clots may respond to anticoagulant medicines. Since this chronic debilitating disease affects mostly poor rural communities in West Africa, this research will help the outlook for patients who currently potentially face permanent disfigurement and disability.

NTD Hub Members

Dr Rachel Simmonds

Dr Belinda Hall

Dr Javier Salguero Bodes

Locations

University of Surrey (Guildford, UK)

Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (Kumasi, Ghana)

Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Basel, Switzerland)