Fowler, Mark I., Weller, Roy O., Heckels, John E. and Christodoulides, Myron
Different meningitis-causing bacteria induce distinct inflammatory responses on interaction with cells of the human meninges
Cellular Microbiology, 6, (6), . (doi:10.1111/j.1462-5822.2004.00382.x).
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The interactions of bacterial pathogens with cells of the human leptomeninges are critical events in the progression of meningitis. An in vitro model based on the culture of human meningioma cells was used to investigate the interactions of the meningeal pathogens Escherichia coli K1, Haemophilus influenzae, Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae. A rank order of association with meningioma cells was observed, with N. meningitidis showing the highest levels of adherence, followed by E. coli, S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae. Neisseria meningitidis and H. influenzae did not invade meningioma cells or induce cell death, but induced a concentration-dependent secretion of inflammatory mediators. Neisseria meningitidis induced higher levels of IL-6, MCP-1, RANTES and GM-CSF than H. influenzae, but there was no significant difference in the levels of IL-8 induced by both pathogens. Streptococcus pneumoniae was also unable to invade meningioma cells, but low concentrations of bacteria failed to stimulate cytokine secretion. However, higher concentrations of pneumococci led to cell death. By contrast, only E. coli K1 invaded meningioma cells directly and induced rapid cell death before an inflammatory response could be induced. These data demonstrate that the interactions of different bacterial pathogens with human meningeal cells are distinct, and suggest that different intervention strategies may be needed in order to prevent the morbidity and mortality associated with bacterial meningitis.
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