Saffron's Space

Firstly, forgive me for the dry nature of this post but hey, I wrote a thesis and I’m proud of it!

In the name of open-access research I have posted my thesis here for your enjoyment. However, if you don’t feel like wading through pages of scientific writing, here’s the quick version (and a cool picture).


Rheumatic heart disease is associated with repeated group A streptococcal infections however there is substantial epidemiological evidence to support the role of group G streptococci in this condition. Prevalence studies have shown significantly higher levels of group G streptococcal infection in areas endemic for rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. This study investigated this relationship through the use of the rat autoimmune valvulitis model. It was found that exposure to whole killed group G streptococci caused heart valve infiltration by mononuclear cells and increased production of acidic mucopolysacharides, a major contributor to valve remodelling in rheumatic heart disease. This response is similar to the valve infiltration and remodelling characteristic of exposure to group A streptococcal M‑protein, the protein thought responsible for rheumatic heart disease. It was also found that antibodies produced against group G streptococci are also responsive to group A streptococci and the group A streptococcal M‑protein.

Rat heart valve

Rat heart tissue at 40X magnification with H&E staining

So what did I learn from my 1 year honours and 4 years volunteer work? That group G streptococci could have a role in rheumatic heart disease… and that if you want to do ELISAs on whole-killed bacterial cells you have to bake the plates…

So, I’m sorry this post doesn’t break the boundaries of current knowledge but if you do want to learn more about my research you can read the full thesis here.

Please note that the research and the thesis are copyright to me and must be cited as follows:

Bryant, S 2012, ‘The role of group G streptococci in rheumatic heart disease’, Honours thesis, James Cook University, Townsville.

Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind