Staphylococcal cutaneous infections: invasion, evasion and aggression.

Keiji Iwatsuki, Osamu Yamasaki, Shin Morizane, Takashi Oono

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


Staphylococcal infections cause a variety of cutaneous and systemic infections, including impetigo, furuncle, subcutaneous abscess, staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS), toxic shock syndrome (TSS) and neonatal toxic shock syndrome-like exanthematous disease (NTED), in association with microbial virulence factors. The virulence factors produced by Staphylococcus aureus have a wide array of biological properties, including disruption of the epithelial barrier, inhibition of opsonization by antibody and complement, interference with neutrophil chemotaxis, cytolysis of neutrophils, and inactivation of antimicrobial peptides. Exfoliative toxins (ETs) induce the 'acantholytic' infection of S. aureus due to the disruption of cell-to-cell cohesion, which allows the pathogenic organisms to spread within the epithelium. Furthermore, S. aureus expresses exotoxins with biological properties of superantigens that induce T-cell activation with subsequent anergy and immunosuppression. Of the S. aureus leukotoxins, Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) is involved in the development of multiple furuncles with more intense erythema, particularly in healthy young adults. TSS is an acute life-threatening illness caused by TSS toxin-1 (TSST-1) and is usually classified into two categories; menstrual TSS, originally described in association with tampon use, and nonmenstrual TSS with a variety of clinical settings. NTED is a neonatal disease induced by TSST-1 although clinical symptoms are much milder than those of TSS. In TSS and NTED, the expansion of TSST-1-reactive Vbeta2-positive T cells is observed. The production of pathogenic S. aureus exotoxins and biofilm formation is regulated by the accessory gene regulator (agr) locus in the quorum-sensing signaling pathway. There is no doubt that targeting the quorum-sensing signaling pathway or anti-toxin therapy is a promising therapeutic approach supportive of primary antibiotic therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-214
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of dermatological science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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