Pleomorphic bacteria-like structures in human blood represent non-living membrane vesicles and protein particles

Jan Martel, Cheng Yeu Wu, Pei Rong Huang, Wei Yun Cheng, John D. Young*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although human blood is believed to be a sterile environment, recent studies suggest that pleomorphic bacteria exist in the blood of healthy humans. These studies have led to the development of "live-blood analysis," a technique used by alternative medicine practitioners to diagnose various human conditions, including allergies, cancer, cardiovascular disease and septicemia. We show here that bacteria-like vesicles and refringent particles form in healthy human blood observed under dark-field microscopy. These structures gradually increase in number during incubation and show morphologies reminiscent of cells undergoing division. Based on lipid analysis and Western blotting, we show that the bacteria-like entities consist of membrane vesicles containing serum and exosome proteins, including albumin, fetuin-A, apolipoprotein-A1, alkaline phosphatase, TNFR1 and CD63. In contrast, the refringent particles represent protein aggregates that contain several blood proteins. 16S rDNA PCR analysis reveals the presence of bacterial DNA in incubated blood samples but also in negative controls, indicating that the amplified sequences represent contaminants. These results suggest that the bacteria-like vesicles and refringent particles observed in human blood represent non-living membrane vesicles and protein aggregates derived from blood. The phenomena observed during live-blood analysis are therefore consistent with time-dependent decay of cells and body fluids during incubation ex vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10650
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 01 12 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).

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