Normal flora as well as pathogenic bacteria, can induce acute and chronic inflammations in humans. Probably as a result of the therapeutic efficacy of antibiotics in the past decades there has been relatively little interest in the mechanisms underlying bacterially induced inflammation. However, because of the increase in the incidence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, the subject is gaining interest. It is important to investigate the inflammatory mechanisms in order to provide new tools for clinicians as they will have to treat the inflammatory symptoms as well as the infection. One of the major components present in Gram-positive bacteria is peptidoglycan (PG). It has been shown that PG possesses inflammatory properties similar to LPS. This suggests that PG is involved in the pathogenesis of inflammation induced by Gram-positive bacteria and possibly also Gramnegative bacteria. A description of the recent work done to test this hypothesis is given in the first part of this introduction. In the second part of this chapter special attention is given to the detection of PG in tissues. The presence of PG in tissues is a prerequisite for the induction of inflammation by PG products. The presence of PG in tissues implicates the presence of PG degrading systems, necessary to prevent the inflammation. In the last Palt of this chapter, an overview is given on the PG degrading systems available in humans.

human tissues, infectious diseases, peptidoglycan
R. Benner (Robbert)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Nationaal Rheumafonds, Stichting Dr. Ir. J.H.J. van de Laar
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Hoijer, M.A. (1996, September 11). Peptidoglycan and the peptidoglycan-degrading N-acetylmuramyl-L-alanine amidase in human tissues. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from