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Tetanus inflammatory reaction

  1. Dec 2, 2013 #1
    As i was passing reading tetanus and its causating bacterium ,pathogenesis, ,clinical manisfestations, i found that it is present as spores in soil and gains entry in body through wounds (except in neonatal tetanus ), germinates and then starts secreting toxin tetanospasmin leading to neurological recruitment.
    My query is why isn't there is an inflammatory reaction when it infects through wounds as whenever there is bacterial infection infammation follows. If this inflammation would have been present it would surely counteract upon the bacteria or the spore (mainly). I think enzymes released by inflammatory cells may not be able to lyse spore but in this case there is no inflammation. What do you think ???

    Also, C. tetani is an anaerobe how could the spore germinate in tissues where there is 24 hr oxygen supply (taking a normal person who just suffered a small wound) ??
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2013 #2
    Anaerobes can survive in wounds as well as in tissue clefts such as in the periodontal gingiva (gums). Dirty wounds with necrotic tissue, particularly puncture wounds, can host low O2 environments where clostridium tetani can germinate and produce its exotoxin. The circulating exotoxin is responsible for the symptoms which can be fatal. In wounds where the spores are present and conditions are not favorable, germination does not occur. But when it does, it's obviously best to be protected.

    EDIT: Re inflammation, there is little to no innate immunity to C tetani, so inflammatory responses to germinating organisms would not be expected.


    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
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