How They Interact in The Body
To understand how mycoplasmas can cause widespread disease, we must first look at the species' unique properties and interactions with host cells. Unlike viruses and bacteria, mycoplasmas are the smallest free-living and self-duplicating microorganisms, as they don't require living cells to replicate their DNA and growth.
Mycoplasmas are able to hide inside the cells of the host (patient) or to attach to the outside of host cells. Whether they live inside or outside the host cell, they depend on host cells for nutrients such as cholesterol, amino acids, etc. They compete with the host cells for these nutrients which can interfere with host cell function without killing the host cell.
A mycoplasma has very little DNA of its own, but is capable of using DNA from a host cell. When a mycoplasma takes over the DNA of the host cell, anything can happen - including causing that cell to malfunction in many different ways and/or die, or can cause DNA mutation of the host cell. Mycoplasmas attach to host cells with a tiny arm coated in protein which attaches to the protein coating of host cells. For this reason, antibiotics like tetracycline, which are classified as "protein synthesis inhibitors" are often used against mycoplasma infections. While these antibiotics may block this protein attachment and very slowly starve it from the nutrients it needs from host cells to thrive and replicate, it still takes a healthy immune system to actually kill the mycoplasma for good.
Mycoplasmas are highly adaptable to changing environments and can move anywhere in the body, attaching to or invading virtually any type of cell in the body. The mycoplasma adhesion proteins are very similar to human proteins. Once adhered to the host cell, the mycoplasma can completely mimic or copy the protein cell of the host cell. This can cause the immune system to begin attacking the body's own cells; an event that happens in all autoimmune diseases.
Certain Mycoplasma species can either activate or suppress host immune systems, and they may use these activities to evade host immune responses. Mycoplasmas can turn on the chain reaction called an immune system response. This includes the stimulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines (chemical messengers of the immune system) which is generally found in most autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and disorders. Mycoplasma can also attach to or invade immune system cells, like the very phagocytes (natural killer cells) that are supposed to kill them. Inside these phagocytes, they can be carried to new locations of inflammation or disease - hidden away like a spy who has infiltrated the defending army. When a mycoplasma attaches to a host cell, it generates and releases hydrogen peroxide and superoxide radicals which cause oxidative stress and damage to the surrounding tissues.
The Main Human Mycoplasma Pathogens
Take a look at the Main Human Mycoplasma Pathogens chart
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Article source: RegenerativeNutrition.com