The benefits of high temperature (fever) in the destruction of microorganisms – pathogens
Fever can affect the development and survival of pathogens. The best known example of this phenomenon is the death of gonococci and treponema at a temperature of 40–40.1 ° C. This thermal sensitivity was the basis for pyrotherapy, which was widely used in the fight against these infections before the discovery of antibiotics.
Less clear is data related to other microorganisms. It is assumed that fever creates an unfavorable environment for the development of certain types of pneumococci and that an increase in body temperature may interfere with the multiplication of viruses.
Studies have shown that the development of many pathogenic microorganisms at 40 ° C requires more iron than at 37 ° C. It is interesting to note that fever contributes to a decrease in the content of iron in the serum and at the same time an increase in the content of ferritin in it, thus reducing the amount of free iron, especially necessary for the development of bacteria.
Kluge believes that increasing body temperature and reducing serum iron content is a coordinated protective response of the microorganism.
Fever can increase the immune response, enhancing the destruction of microorganisms – the causative agents of diseases
There are a number of studies confirming the increase in immunological and antibacterial activity with a moderate increase in body temperature. Roberts discovered that the bactericidal activity of polymorphonuclear leukocytes increased at 40 ° C. This is true for Escherichia coli, salmonella and Listeria, but not for staphylococcus. However, the enhancement of the bactericidal activity of mononuclear phagocytes was not observed.
Austin discovered a transient enhancement of the destruction of staphylococci by polymorphonuclear leukocytes at 40 ° C. Roberts revealed that the transformation of lymphocytes under the influence of phytohemagglutinin was more significant at 38.5 ° C than at 37 ° C. Ruiz-Gomez noted an increase in high-temperature interferon production by fibroblasts infected with certain viruses.
However, this effect was not characteristic of all viruses, and the opposite was observed when infected with other types of viruses.
In the study of lizards, Bernheim found that fever contributes to the activation of a number of stages of the early inflammatory reaction, leading to an increase in leukocyte migration to the sites of inflammation. However, he was not able to identify its effects on the chemotaxis and phagocytosis of granulocytes.