IL-1 receptor type 1 gene-deficient mice demonstrate an impaired host defense against pneumococcal meningitis

Petra J G Zwijnenburg, Tom van der Poll, Sandrine Florquin, John J Roord, A Marceline Van Furth

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The fatality rate associated with Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis remains high despite adequate antibiotic treatment. IL-1 is an important proinflammatory cytokine, which is up-regulated in brain tissue after the induction of meningitis. To determine the role of IL-1 in pneumococcal meningitis we induced meningitis by intranasal inoculation with 8 x 10(4) CFU of S. pneumoniae and 180 U of hyaluronidase in IL-1R type I gene-deficient (IL-1R(-/-)) mice and wild-type mice. Meningitis resulted in elevated IL-1alpha and IL-1beta mRNA and protein levels in the brain. The absence of an intact IL-1 signal was associated with a higher susceptibility to develop meningitis. Furthermore, the lack of IL-1 impaired bacterial clearance, as reflected by an increased number of CFU in cerebrospinal fluid of IL-1R(-/-) mice. The characteristic pleocytosis of meningitis was not significantly altered in IL-1R(-/-) mice, but meningitis was associated with lower brain levels of cytokines. The mortality was significantly higher and earlier in the course of the disease in IL-1R(-/-) mice. These results demonstrate that endogenous IL-1 is required for an adequate host defense in pneumococcal meningitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4724-30
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2003

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