MyD88 KO (knockout) mice are exquisitely sensitive to CNS (central nervous system) infection with Staphylococcus aureus, a common aetiological agent of brain abscess, exhibiting global defects in innate immunity and exacerbated tissue damage. However, since brain abscesses are typified by the involvement of both activated CNS-resident and infiltrating immune cells, in our previous studies it has been impossible to determine the relative contribution of MyD88-dependent signalling in the CNS compared with the peripheral immune cell compartments. In the present study we addressed this by examining the course of S. aureus infection in MyD88 bone marrow chimaera mice. Interestingly, chimaeras where MyD88 was present in the CNS, but not bone marrow-derived cells, mounted pro-inflammatory mediator expression profiles and neutrophil recruitment equivalent to or exceeding that detected in WT (wild-type) mice. These results implicate CNS MyD88 as essential in eliciting the initial wave of inflammation during the acute response to parenchymal infection. Microarray analysis of infected MyD88 KO compared with WT mice revealed a preponderance of differentially regulated genes involved in apoptotic pathways, suggesting that the extensive tissue damage characteristic of brain abscesses from MyD88 KO mice could result from dysregulated apoptosis. Collectively, the findings of the present study highlight a novel mechanism for CNS-resident cells in initiating a protective innate immune response in the infected brain and, in the absence of MyD88 in this compartment, immunity is compromised.
bone marrow chimaera mice; brain abscess; central nervous system; MyD88; Staphylococcus aureus; Toll-like receptor; CFU, colony forming unit; CNS, central nervous system; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; GFP, green fluorescent protein; Ier3/IEX, immediate early response 3; IL, interleukin; IL-1R etc., IL-1 receptor; KO, knockout; Lcn2, lipocalin-2; NF-κB, nuclear factor κB; Pacsin3, protein kinase C and casein kinase substrate in neurons 3; Pfc, complement factor properdin; qRT-PCR, quantitative real-time RT (reverse transcriptase)-PCR; ROS, reactive oxygen species; SOCS3, suppressor of cytokine signalling 3; TLR, Toll-like receptor; TNF-α, tumour necrosis factor-α; WT, wild-type
Although IL-17A (commonly referred to as IL-17) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmune disease, its role during CNS bacterial infections remains unclear. To evaluate the broader impact of IL-17 family members in the context of CNS infection, we utilized IL-17 receptor (IL-17R) knockout (KO) mice that lack the ability to respond to IL-17, IL-17F and IL-17E (IL-25). In this article, we demonstrate that IL-17R signaling regulates bacterial clearance as well as natural killer T (NKT) cell and gamma-delta (γδ) T cell infiltrates during Staphylococcus aureus-induced brain abscess formation. Specifically, when compared with wild-type (WT) animals, IL-17R KO mice exhibited elevated bacterial burdens at days 7 and 14 following S. aureus infection. Additionally, IL-17R KO animals displayed elevated neutrophil chemokine production, revealing the ability to compensate for the lack of IL-17R activity. Despite these differences, innate immune cell recruitment into brain abscesses was similar in IL-17R KO and WT mice, whereas IL-17R signaling exerted a greater influence on adaptive immune cell recruitment. In particular, γδ T cell influx was increased in IL-17R KO mice at day 7 post-infection. In addition, NK1.1high infiltrates were absent in brain abscesses of IL-17R KO animals and, surprisingly, were rarely detected in the livers of uninfected IL-17R KO mice. Although IL-17 is a key regulator of neutrophils in other infection models, our data implicate an important role for IL-17R signaling in regulating adaptive immunity during CNS bacterial infection.
Brain abscess; IL-17R; Macrophages; γδ T cells; Neutrophils; NKT cells
Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) is a pattern recognition receptor (PRR) that plays an important role in innate immune recognition of conserved structural motifs on a wide array of pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus. To ascertain the functional significance of TLR2 in the context of central nervous system (CNS) parenchymal infection, we evaluated the pathogenesis of S. aureus-induced experimental brain abscess in TLR2 knockout (KO) and wild-type (WT) mice. The expression of several proinflammatory mediators, including inducible nitric oxide synthase, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and macrophage inflammatory protein-2, was significantly attenuated in brain abscesses of TLR2 KO mice compared to WT mice during the acute phase of infection. Conversely, interleukin-17 (IL-17), a cytokine produced by activated and memory T cells, was significantly elevated in lesions of TLR2 KO mice, suggesting an association between innate and adaptive immunity in brain abscess. Despite these differences, brain abscess severity in TLR2 KO and WT animals was similar, with comparable mortality rates, bacterial titers, and blood-brain barrier permeability, implying a role for alternative PRRs. Expression of the phagocytic PRRs macrophage scavenger receptor type AI/AII and lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1 (LOX-1) was increased in brain abscesses of both TLR2 KO and WT mice compared to uninfected animals. However, LOX-1 induction in brain abscesses of TLR2 KO mice was significantly attenuated compared to WT animals, revealing that the TLR2-dependent signal(s) influence LOX-1 expression. Collectively, these findings reveal the complex nature of gram-positive bacterial recognition in the CNS which occurs, in part, through engagement of TLR2 and highlight the importance of receptor redundancy for S. aureus detection in the CNS.
Although infection is the commonest central nervous system complication following renal transplantation, brain abscess is uncommon. Over the last 11 years, five renal transplant recipients who had brain abscesses were treated by computed tomography (CT)-guided stereotactic aspiration. Three patients had a fungal abscess, one a tuberculous abscess and the other had a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus abscess. One patient required a craniotomy for the excision of a fungal abscess which was persistent after two CT-guided stereotactic aspirations. The survivors in this group are the patient with a tuberculous abscess who is alive and well 5 years after diagnosis, and another with a dematiaceous fungal abscess (phaeohyphomycosis). CT-guided stereotactic surgery is minimally invasive, and can safely be performed in these patients. It often leads to an aetiological diagnosis in renal transplant recipients with brain abscesses. Specific antibiotic management directed towards the causative organism rather than empirical treatment can be instituted following the procedure. Although the ultimate prognosis in these patients is bleak even with specific antibiotic therapy, an occasional patient might have a good outcome with prompt and appropriate therapy.
Keywords: brain abscess; computed tomography guided stereotaxy; renal transplant recipients
Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most prevalent organisms responsible for nosocomial infections, and cases of community-acquired S. aureus infection have continued to increase despite wide-spread preventative measures. Pathologies attributed to S. aureus infection are diverse; ranging from dermal lesions to bacteremia, abscesses, and endocarditis. Reported cases of S. aureus-associated meningitis and brain abscesses have also increased in recent years, however the precise mechanism whereby S. aureus leave the bloodstream and gain access to the central nervous system (CNS) are not known. Here we demonstrate for the first time that S. aureus efficiently adheres to and invades human brain microvascular endothelial cells (hBMEC), the single-cell layer which constitutes the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The addition of cytochalasin D, an actin microfilament aggregation inhibitor, strongly reduced bacterial invasion, suggesting an active hBMEC process is required for efficient staphylococcal uptake. Furthermore, mice injected with S. aureus exhibited significant levels of brain bacterial counts and histopathologic evidence of meningeal inflammation and brain abscess formation, indicating that S. aureus was able to breech the BBB in an experimental model of hematogenous meningitis. We found that a YpfP-deficient mutant, defective in lipoteichoic acid (LTA) membrane anchoring, exhibited a decreased ability to invade hBMEC and correlated to a reduced risk for the development of meningitis in vivo. Our results demonstrate that LTA mediated penetration of the BBB may be a primary step in the pathogenesis of staphylococcal CNS disease.
S. aureus; MRSA; blood-brain barrier; LTA; meningitis; brain abscess
Microglia express multiple TLRs (Toll-like receptors) and provide important host defence against viruses that invade the CNS (central nervous system). Although prior studies show these cells become activated during experimental alphavirus encephalitis in mice to generate cytokines and chemokines that influence virus replication, tissue inflammation and neuronal survival, the specific PRRs (pattern recognition receptors) and signalling intermediates controlling microglial activation in this setting remain unknown. To investigate these questions directly in vivo, mice ablated of specific TLR signalling molecules were challenged with NSV (neuroadapted Sindbis virus) and CNS viral titres, inflammatory responses and clinical outcomes followed over time. To approach this problem specifically in microglia, the effects of NSV on primary cells derived from the brains of wild-type and mutant animals were characterized in vitro. From the standpoint of the virus, microglial activation required viral uncoating and an intact viral genome; inactivated virus particles did not elicit measurable microglial responses. At the level of the target cell, NSV triggered multiple PRRs in microglia to produce a broad range of inflammatory mediators via non-overlapping signalling pathways. In vivo, disease survival was surprisingly independent of TLR-driven responses, but still required production of type-I IFN (interferon) to control CNS virus replication. Interestingly, the ER (endoplasmic reticulum) protein UNC93b1 facilitated host survival independent of its known effects on endosomal TLR signalling. Taken together, these data show that alphaviruses activate microglia via multiple PRRs, highlighting the complexity of the signalling networks by which CNS host responses are elicited by these infections.
encephalitis; microglia; Sindbis virus; Toll-like receptors; type-I interferon; UNC93b1; Baf A1, bafilomycin A1; CCL, CC motif ligand; CNS, central nervous system; CXCL13, C-X-C motif ligand 13; EAE, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; ER, endoplasmic reticulum; FBS, fetal bovine serum; HBSS, Hanks balanced salt solution; HSE, herpes simplex encephalitis; IFN, interferon; IL, interleukin; LPS, lipopolysaccharide; MDA5, melanoma-differentiation-associated gene 5; MyD88, myeloid differentiation response gene 88; NSV, neuroadapted Sindbis virus; ODN, oligodeoxynucleotide; PBMC, peripheral blood mononuclear cell; pfu, plaque-forming units; poly(I:C), polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid; PRR, pattern recognition receptor; qPCR, quantitative PCR; RLR, retinoic acid-inducible gene I-like receptor; RRMS, relapsing-remitting form of multiple sclerosis; SV, Sindbis virus; TLR, Toll-like receptor; TNF, tumour necrosis factor
Bacterial meningitis remains a disease with associated unacceptable morbidity and mortality rates despite the availability of effective bactericidal antimicrobial therapy. Through the use of experimental animal models of infection, a great deal of information has been gleaned concerning the pathogenic and pathophysiologic mechanisms operable in bacterial meningitis. Most cases of bacterial meningitis begin with host acquisition of a new organism by nasopharyngeal colonization followed by systemic invasion and development of a high-grade bacteremia. Bacterial encapsulation contributes to this bacteremia by inhibiting neutrophil phagocytosis and resisting classic complement-mediated bactericidal activity. Central nervous system invasion then occurs, although the exact site of bacterial traversal into the central nervous system is unknown. By production and/or release of virulence factors into and stimulation of formation of inflammatory cytokines within the central nervous system, meningeal pathogens increase permeability of the blood-brain barrier, thus allowing protein and neutrophils to move into the subarachnoid space. There is then an intense subarachnoid space inflammatory response, which leads to many of the pathophysiologic consequences of bacterial meningitis, including cerebral edema and increased intracranial pressure. Attenuation of this inflammatory response with adjunctive dexamethasone therapy is associated with reduced concentrations of tumor necrosis factor in the cerebrospinal fluid, with diminished cerebrospinal fluid leukocytosis, and perhaps with improvement of morbidity, as demonstrated in recent clinical trials. Further information on the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of bacterial meningitis should lead to the development of more innovative treatment and/or preventive strategies for this disorder.
Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and TNF-β are key mediators in bacterial inflammation. We therefore examined the role of TNF-α and its two receptors in murine pneumococcal central nervous system infection. TNF-α knockout mice and age- and sex-matched controls and TNF receptor (p55 and p75)-deficient mice and heterozygous littermates were infected intracerebrally with a Streptococcus pneumoniae type 3 strain. Mice were monitored until death or were killed 36 h after infection. Bacterial titers in blood, spleen, and brain homogenates were determined. Leukocyte infiltration and neuronal damage were assessed by histological scores. TNF-α-deficient mice died earlier than the controls after intracerebral infection although overall survival was similar. TNF-α deficiency did not inhibit leukocyte recruitment into the subarachnoid space and did not lead to an increased density of bacteria in brain homogenates. However, it caused a substantial rise of the concentration of S. pneumoniae cells in blood and spleen. Spleen bacterial titers were also increased in p55- and p75-deficient mice. TNF receptor-deficient mice showed decreased meningeal inflammation. Neuronal damage was not affected by either TNF-α or TNF receptor deficiency. In a murine model of pneumococcal peritonitis, 102 CFU of S. pneumoniae produced fatal peritonitis in TNF-α-deficient, but not wild-type, mice. Early leukocyte influx into the peritoneum was impaired in TNF-α-deficient mice. The lack of TNF-α or its receptors renders mice more susceptible to S. pneumoniae infections.
Central nervous system catheter infections are a serious complication in the treatment of hydrocephalus. These infections are commonly caused by Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus, both known to form biofilms on the catheter surface. Our objective was to generate a novel murine model of central nervous system catheter-associated biofilm infection using a clinical S. aureus isolate and characterize the nature of the inflammatory response during biofilm growth. Silicone catheters were precoated with S. aureus to facilitate bacterial attachment, whereupon infected or sterile catheters were stereotactically inserted into the lateral ventricle of the brain in C57BL/6 mice and evaluated at regular intervals through day 21 postinsertion. Animals tolerated the procedure well, with no clinical signs of illness or bacterial growth seen in the control group. Bacterial titers associated with central nervous system catheters were significantly elevated compared to those from the surrounding parenchyma, consistent with biofilm formation and minimal planktonic spread of infection. Catheter-associated bacterial burdens progressively increased, with maximal colonization achieved at day 7 postinfection. Analysis of inflammatory infiltrates by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) revealed significant macrophage and neutrophil influx, which peaked at days 3 and 5 to 7, respectively. In contrast, there were no detectable immune infiltrates associated with tissues surrounding sterile catheters. Biofilm infection led to significant increases in chemokine (CXCL1 and CCL2) and proinflammatory cytokine (interleukin 17 [IL-17]) expression in tissues surrounding infected central nervous system catheters. Based on these results, we propose this approach is a valid animal model for further investigations of catheter-associated central nervous system shunt infections.
Brain abscesses are mainly caused by either direct or indirect inoculation of gram positive bacteria including Stapylococcus aureus (S. aureus) or Streptococcus species into the central nervous system. In the present study, we aimed to compare potential changes in brain abscess pathogenesis induced by two different strains of S. aureus, namely the laboratory strain RN6390 and the clinical isolate Reynolds. Although the Reynolds strain was expected to be more resistant to eradication by the host, due to the existence of a polysaccharide capsule, and subsequently to be more virulent, instead we found parenchymal damage and mortality rates to be more prominent following RN6390 infection. In contrast, the Reynolds strain proliferated faster and induced early expression of the chemokine CXCL2, matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), and complement 3a and C5. Furthermore, there were early and more abundant infiltration of PMNs, T cells and erythrocyte extravasation in brain abscesses induced by the Reynolds strain. However, several immune parameters were not different between the two strains during the later stages of the disease. These results suggest that capsular S. aureus can modulate innate immunity and complement system activation differently than the acapsular strain RN6390, and the early changes induced by Reynolds strain may have an important impact on survival.
S. aureus; Brain abscess; Mast cells; Immune cells; Complement 3a; Complement 5
We have recently demonstrated that microglia and astrocytes express nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-2 (NOD2), a novel cytosolic pattern recognition receptor for bacterial motifs, and we have shown that this intracellular receptor is essential for glial responses to Gram-negative pathogens. Here, we demonstrate that intact Staphylococcus aureus, a major Gram-positive causative agent of brain abscesses, activates the transcription factor NF-kB and is a potent stimulus for inflammatory cytokine production in primary murine microglia and astrocytes. Interestingly, we demonstrate that NOD2 is essential for maximal glial responses to intact S. aureus, but not cellular lysates. As such, this data indicates that NOD2 plays an important role in initiating inflammatory mediator production by resident brain cells following S. aureus infection and we suggest that this cytosolic receptor acts in conjunction with cell surface pattern recognition receptors to elicit maximal glial responses.
microglia; astrocytes; Gram-positive bacteria; abscess; NLR; cytokines
Staphylococcus aureus is one of the dominant pathogens that induce septic arthritis in immunocompromised hosts, e.g., patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis treated with immunosuppressive drugs. S. aureus-induced arthritis leads to severe joint destruction and high mortality despite antibiotic treatment. Recently, interleukin-17A (IL-17A) has been discovered to be an important mediator of aseptic arthritis both in mice and humans, but its function in S. aureus-induced arthritis is largely unknown. Here, we investigated the role of IL-17A in host defense against arthritis following systemic and local S. aureus infection in vivo. IL-17A knockout mice and wild-type mice were inoculated systemically (intravenously) or locally (intra-articularly) with S. aureus. During systemic infection, IL-17A knockout mice lost significantly more weight than the wild-type mice did, but no differences were found in the mortality rate. The absence of IL-17A had no impact on clinical arthritis development but led to increased histopathological erosivity late during systemic S. aureus infection. Bacterial clearance in kidneys was increased in IL-17A knockout mice compared to the level in wild-type mice only 1 day after bacterial inoculation. During systemic S. aureus infection, serum IL-17F protein levels and mRNA levels in the lymph nodes were elevated in the IL-17A knockout mice compared to the level in wild-type mice. In contrast to systemic infection, the IL-17A knockout mice had increased synovitis and erosions and locally decreased clearance of bacteria 3 days after local bacterial inoculation. On the basis of these findings, we suggest that IL-17A is more important in local host defense than in systemic host defense against S. aureus-induced arthritis.
Recent studies have suggested that the scavenger receptor MARCO (macrophage receptor with collagenous structure) mediates activation of the immune response in bacterial infection of the central nervous system (CNS). The chemotactic G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) formyl-peptide-receptor like-1 (FPRL1) plays an essential role in the inflammatory responses of host defence mechanisms and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Expression of the antimicrobial peptide cathelicidin CRAMP/LL-37 is up-regulated in bacterial meningitis, but the mechanisms underlying CRAMP expression are far from clear.
Using a rat meningitis model, we investigated the influence of MARCO and FPRL1 on rCRAMP (rat cathelin-related antimicrobial peptide) expression after infection with bacterial supernatants of Streptococcus pneumoniae (SP) and Neisseria meningitides (NM). Expression of FPRL1 and MARCO was analyzed by immunofluorescence and real-time RT-PCR in a rat meningitis model. Furthermore, we examined the receptor involvement by real-time RT-PCR, extracellular-signal regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) phosphorylation and cAMP level measurement in glial cells (astrocytes and microglia) and transfected HEK293 cells using receptor deactivation by antagonists. Receptors were inhibited by small interference RNA and the consequences in NM- and SP-induced Camp (rCRAMP gene) expression and signal transduction were determined.
We show an NM-induced increase of MARCO expression by immunofluorescence and real-time RT-PCR in glial and meningeal cells. Receptor deactivation by antagonists and small interfering RNA (siRNA) verified the importance of FPRL1 and MARCO for NM- and SP-induced Camp and interleukin-1β expression in glial cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated a functional interaction between FPRL1 and MARCO in NM-induced signalling by real-time RT-PCR, ERK1/2 phosphorylation and cAMP level measurement and show differences between NM- or SP-induced signal transduction.
We propose that NM and SP induce glial cell activation and rCRAMP expression also via FPRL1 and MARCO. Thus the receptors contribute an important part to the host defence against infection.
Brain abscesses result from a pyogenic parenchymal infection commonly initiated by Gram-positive bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. Although the host immune response elicited following infection is essential for effective bacterial containment, this response also contributes to the significant loss of brain parenchyma by necrosis that may be reduced by modulating the inflammatory response. Ciglitazone, a PPAR-γ agonist with anti-inflammatory properties, was evaluated for its ability to influence the course of brain abscess development when treatment was initiated 3 days following infection. Interestingly, abscess-associated bacterial burdens were significantly lower following ciglitazone administration, which could be explained, in part, by the finding that ciglitazone enhanced S. aureus phagocytosis by microglia. In addition, ciglitazone attenuated the expression of select inflammatory mediators during brain abscess development including inducible NO synthase, TNF-α, IL-1β, CXCL2, and CCL3. Unexpectedly, ciglitazone also accelerated brain abscess encapsulation, which was typified by the heightened expression of fibronectin and α-smooth muscle actin-positive myofibroblasts. Collectively, through its ability to attenuate excessive inflammation and accelerate abscess encapsulation, ciglitazone may effectively sequester brain abscesses and limit bacterial dissemination.
Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungus that causes life- threatening meningoencephalitis in 5-10% of patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Cryptococcal meningoencephalitis is characterized by a lymphohistiocytic infiltrate, accumulation of encapsulated forms of C. neoformans, and varying degrees of glial reaction. Little is known about the contribution of endogenous central nervous system cells to the pathogenesis of cryptococcal infections. In this study, we investigated the role of astrocytes as potential effector cells against C. neoformans. Primary cultures of human fetal astrocytes, activated with interleukin 1 beta plus interferon gamma inhibited the growth of C. neoformans. The inhibition of C. neoformans growth was paralleled by production of nitrite, and reversed by the inhibitors of nitric oxide (NO.) synthase, NG-methyl-mono-arginine and NG-nitro-arginine methyl ester. The results suggest a novel function for human astrocytes in host defence and provide a precedent for the use of NO. as an antimicrobial effector molecule by human cells.
Staphylococcus aureus is a common etiologic agent of brain abscesses and possesses numerous virulence factors that manipulate host immunity. One example is superantigens (SAG) that clonally expand T cell subsets bearing specific Vβ receptors. Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) is one receptor implicated in S. aureus recognition. However, the interplay between TLR2, SAG, and adaptive immunity during brain abscess formation has not yet been investigated and could reveal novel insights into host-pathogen interactions for regulating protective immunity. A comprehensive analysis of abscess-associated T cell populations in TLR2 KO and WT mice was performed following infection with a S. aureus clinical isolate. Both natural killer T (NKT) and γδ T cell infiltrates were increased in brain abscesses of TLR2 KO mice and produced more IL-17 and IFN-γ compared to WT populations, which could have resulted from elevated bacterial burdens observed in these animals. Analysis of SAG-reactive T cells revealed a predominant Vβ8.1,8.2 infiltrate reactive with staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), whereas SEA-reactive Vβ11 T cells were less numerous. Brain abscesses of TLR2 KO mice had fewer Vβ8.1,8.2 and Vβ11 T cells and produced less TNF-α and IFN-γ compared to WT animals. Treatment of primary microglia with purified SEB augmented TNF-α production in response to the TLR2 ligand Pam3Cys, which may serve to amplify proinflammatory cascades during CNS S. aureus infection. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that TLR2 impacts adaptive immunity to S. aureus infection and modulates SAG responses.
Toll-like receptor 2; Staphylococcus aureus; superantigen; staphylococcal enterotoxin B; microglia; natural killer T cells; γδ T cells
Zwitterionic polysaccharide (ZPS) components of the bacterial cell envelope have been shown to exert a major histocompatibility complex (MHC) II-dependent activation of CD4+ T cells, which in turn can modulate the outcome and progression of infections in animal models. We investigated the impact of zwitterionic cell wall teichoic acid (WTA) produced by Staphylococcus aureus on the development of skin abscesses in a mouse model. We also compared the relative biological activities of WTA and capsular polysaccharide (CP), important S. aureus pathogenicity factors, in abscess formation. Expression of both WTA and CP markedly affected the ability of S. aureus to induce skin abscess formation in mice. Purified wild-type zwitterionic WTA was more active in inducing abscess formation than negatively charged mutant WTA or purified CP8. To assess the ability of purified native WTA to stimulate T cell proliferation in vitro, we co-cultivated WTA with human T-cells and antigen presenting cells in the presence and absence of various inhibitors of MHC-II presentation. Wild-type WTA induced T cell proliferation to a significantly greater extent than negatively charged WTA. T cell activation was dependent on the presentation of WTA on MHC II, since inhibitors of MHC II-dependent presentation and antibodies to MHC II significantly reduced T cell proliferation. T cells activated in vitro with wild-type WTA, but not negatively charged WTA, induced abscess formation when injected subcutaneously into wild-type mice. CD4−/− mice similarly injected with WTA failed to develop abscesses. Our results demonstrate that the zwitterionic WTA of S. aureus induces CD4+ T-cell proliferation in an MHCII-dependent manner, which in turn modulates abscess formation in a mouse skin infection model. An understanding of this novel T cell-dependent host response to staphylococcal abscess formation may lead to the development of new strategies to combat S. aureus skin and soft tissue infections.
Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) proteins are multifunctional cytokines whose neural functions are increasingly recognized. The machinery of TGF-β signaling, including the serine kinase type transmembrane receptors, is present in the central nervous system. However, the 3 mammalian TGF-β subtypes have distinct distributions in the brain suggesting different neural functions. Evidence of their involvement in the development and plasticity of the nervous system as well as their functions in peripheral organs suggested that they also exhibit neuroprotective functions. Indeed, TGF-β expression is induced following a variety of types of brain tissue injury. The neuroprotective function of TGF-βs is most established following brain ischemia. Damage in experimental animal models of global and focal ischemia was shown to be attenuated by TGF-βs. In addition, support for their neuroprotective actions following trauma, sclerosis multiplex, neurodegenerative diseases, infections, and brain tumors is also accumulating. The review will also describe the potential mechanisms of neuroprotection exerted by TGF-βs including anti-inflammatory, -apoptotic, -excitotoxic actions as well as the promotion of scar formation, angiogenesis, and neuroregeneration. The participation of these mechanisms in the neuroprotective effects of TGF-βs during different brain lesions will also be discussed.
TGF-β; stroke; lesion; brain injury; neurodegeneration; neuroprotection
Besides their traditional role in maintaining central nervous system (CNS) homeostasis, astrocytes also participate in innate immune responses. Indeed, we have previously demonstrated that astrocytes are capable of recognizing bacterial pathogens such as S. aureus, a common etiologic agent of CNS infections, and respond with the robust production of numerous proinflammatory mediators. Suppression of Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1), a DNA repair enzyme, has been shown to attenuate inflammatory responses in several cell types including mixed glial cultures. However, a role for PARP-1 in regulating innate immune responses in purified astrocytes and the potential for multiple PARP family members to cooperatively regulate astrocyte activation has not yet been examined. The synthetic PARP-1 inhibitor PJ-34 attenuated the production of several proinflammatory mediators by astrocytes in response to S. aureus stimulation including nitric oxide, interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and CCL2. The release of all four mediators was partially reduced in PARP-1 knockout (KO) astrocytes compared to wild type cells. The residual inflammatory mediator expression detected in PARP-1 KO astrocytes was further blocked with PJ-34, suggesting either non-specific effects of the drug or actions on alternative PARP isoforms. Reduction of PARP-2 or PARP-3 expression by siRNA knock down revealed that these isoforms also contributed to inflammatory mediator regulation in response to S. aureus. Interestingly, the combined targeting of either PARP-1/PARP-2 or PARP-2/PARP-3 attenuated astrocyte inflammatory responses more effectively compared to knock down of either PARP alone, suggesting cooperativity between PARP isoforms. Collectively, these findings suggest that PARPs influence the extent of S. aureus-induced astrocyte activation.
astrocytes; PARP; PJ-34; S. aureus; proinflammatory cytokines; chemokines; siRNA
TLR2 plays a pivotal role in recognizing S. aureus, a common etiologic agent of CNS parenchymal infections, such as brain abscess. We previously reported that brain abscesses of TLR2 knockout (KO) mice exhibited elevated IL-17 levels, suggesting the presence of an alternative pathway available to respond to S. aureus infection that may involve Th17 cells. Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cell infiltrates were elevated in brain abscesses of TLR2 KO mice at days 3, 7, and 14 post-infection compared to wild type animals. Intracellular cytokine staining revealed a significant increase in the frequency of IL-17-producing Th17 cells in TLR2 KO mice with relatively few IFN-γ-positive cells.γδ T cells were also a source of IL-17 in brain abscesses. Microglia, astrocytes, and macrophages were shown to express both IL-17RA and IL-17RC. Despite receptor expression, IL-17 was relatively ineffective at eliciting glial activation, whereas the cytokine augmented the ability of TNF-α to induce CXCL2 and CCL2 expression by macrophages. Based on the ability of IL-17 to elicit the release of chemokines and other pro-inflammatory mediators, we propose that the exaggerated IL-17 response that occurs in TLR2 KO mice functions in a compensatory manner to control brain abscess pathogenesis, with cells other than glia as targets for IL-17 action. This is supported by our findings where innate immune infiltrates were not significantly different between TLR2 KO and WT mice in conjunction with the lack of prolonged alterations in the synthesis of other pro-inflammatory molecules during the course of infection.
Toll-like receptor 2; Th17; IL-17; S. aureus; brain abscess; central nervous system
Serotype 5 and 8 capsular polysaccharides predominate among clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus. The results of experiments in animal models of infection have revealed that staphylococcal capsules are important in the pathogenesis of S. aureus infections. The capsule enhances staphylococcal virulence by impeding phagocytosis, resulting in bacterial persistence in the bloodstream of infected hosts. S. aureus capsules also promote abscess formation in rats. Although the capsule has been shown to modulate S. aureus adherence to endothelial surfaces in vitro, animal studies suggest that it also promotes bacterial colonization and persistence on mucosal surfaces. S. aureus capsular antigens are surface associated, limited in antigenic specificity, and highly conserved among clinical isolates. With the emergence of vancomycin-resistant S. aureus in the United States in 2002, new strategies are needed to combat staphylococcal infections. Purified serotype 5 and 8 capsular polysaccharides offer promise as target antigens for a vaccine to prevent staphylococcal infections, although the inclusion of other antigens is likely to be essential in the development of an effective S. aureus vaccine. The genetics and mechanisms of capsule biosynthesis are complex, and much work remains to enhance our understanding of capsule biosynthesis and its regulation.
The innate immune system is the primary defence against the versatile pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus. How this organism is able to avoid immune killing and cause infections is poorly understood. Using an established larval zebrafish infection model, we have shown that overwhelming infection is due to subversion of phagocytes by staphylococci, allowing bacteria to evade killing and found foci of disease. Larval zebrafish coinfected with two S. aureus strains carrying different fluorescent reporter gene fusions (but otherwise isogenic) had bacterial lesions, at the time of host death, containing predominantly one strain. Quantitative data using two marked strains revealed that the strain ratios, during overwhelming infection, were often skewed towards the extremes, with one strain predominating. Infection with passaged bacterial clones revealed the phenomenon not to bedue to adventitious mutations acquired by the pathogen. After infection of the host, all bacteria are internalized by phagocytes and the skewing of population ratios is absolutely dependent on the presence of phagocytes. Mathematical modelling of pathogen population dynamics revealed the data patterns are consistent with the hypothesis that a small number of infected phagocytes serve as an intracellular reservoir for S. aureus, which upon release leads to disseminated infection. Strategies to specifically alter neutrophil/macrophage numbers were used to map the potential subpopulation of phagocytes acting as a pathogen reservoir, revealing neutrophils as the likely ‘niche’. Subsequently in a murine sepsis model, S. aureus abscesses in kidneys were also found to be predominantly clonal, therefore likely founded by an individual cell, suggesting a potential mechanism analogous to the zebrafish model with few protected niches. These findings add credence to the argument that S. aureus control regimes should recognize both the intracellular as well as extracellular facets of the S. aureus life cycle.
Infections with Shiga toxin-producing Shigella dysenteriae type 1 and Shiga-like toxin (SLT)-producing Escherichia coli cause outbreaks of bloody diarrhea in which patients are at risk for developing life-threatening complications involving the renal and central nervous systems. Histopathology studies and in vitro experiments suggested that the toxins damage toxin receptor-expressing endothelial cells (EC) lining glomerular and central nervous system capillaries. In the presence of inducible host factors (cytokines), EC sensitivity to SLT toxicity was increased approximately 1 million-fold. We hypothesized that to manifest the vascular lesions characteristic of infection with toxin-producing bacteria, two signals were needed: systemic toxins and elevated proinflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNF-alpha], interleukin 1 [IL-1], and IL-6). Human EC do not secrete these cytokines when stimulated with SLTs in vitro, suggesting that additional cells may be involved in pathogenesis. Therefore, we carried out comparative analyses of the capacity of purified (endotoxin-free) SLTs and lipopolysaccharides (LPS) to induce cytokine mRNA and proteins from murine macrophages. The cells were essentially refractory to SLT cytotoxicity, expressing low to undetectable levels of toxin receptor. SLTs and LPS induced TNF activity and IL-6 expression from macrophages, although dose response and kinetics of cytokine induction differed. LPS was a more effective inducing agent than SLTs. SLT-I-induced TNF activity and IL-6 expression were delayed compared with induction mediated by LPS. IL-1 alpha production required approximately 24 h of exposure to SLTs or LPS. Macrophages from LPS-hyporesponsive C3H/HeJ mice produced low levels of TNF activity when treated with SLT-I, suggesting that LPS and SLTs may utilize separate signaling pathways for cytokine induction.
Bacterial biofilms represent a significant therapeutic challenge based on their ability to evade host immune and antibiotic-mediated clearance. Recent studies have implicated IL-1β in biofilm containment, whereas Toll-like receptors (TLRs) had no effect. This is intriguing, since both the IL-1 receptor (IL-1R) and most TLRs impinge on MyD88-dependent signaling pathways, yet the role of this key adaptor in modulating the host response to biofilm growth is unknown. Therefore, we examined the course of S. aureus catheter-associated biofilm infection in MyD88 knockout (KO) mice. MyD88 KO animals displayed significantly increased bacterial burdens on catheters and surrounding tissues during early infection, which coincided with enhanced dissemination to the heart and kidney compared to wild type (WT) mice. The expression of several proinflammatory mediators, including IL-6, IFN-γ, and CXCL1 was significantly reduced in MyD88 KO mice, primarily at the later stages of infection. Interestingly, immunofluorescence staining of biofilm-infected tissues revealed increased fibrosis in MyD88 KO mice concomitant with enhanced recruitment of alternatively activated M2 macrophages. Taken in the context of previous studies with IL-1β, TLR2, and TLR9 KO mice, the current report reveals that MyD88 signaling is a major effector pathway regulating fibrosis and macrophage polarization during biofilm formation. Together these findings represent a novel example of the divergence between TLR and MyD88 action in the context of S. aureus biofilm infection.
Measles virus (MV) infection causes acute childhood disease, associated in certain cases with infection of the central nervous system (CNS) and development of neurological disease. To develop a murine model of MV-induced pathology, we generated several lines of transgenic mice ubiquitously expressing as the MV receptor a human CD46 molecule with either a Cyt1 or Cyt2 cytoplasmic tail. All transgenic lines expressed CD46 protein in the brain. Newborn transgenic mice, in contrast to nontransgenic controls, were highly sensitive to intracerebral infection by the MV Edmonston strain. Signs of clinical illness (lack of mobility, tremors, and weight loss) appeared within 5 to 7 days after infection, followed by seizures, paralysis, and death of the infected animals. Virus replication was detected in neurons from infected mice, and virus was reproducibly isolated from transgenic brain tissue. MV-induced apoptosis observed in different brain regions preceded the death of infected animals. Similar results were obtained with mice expressing either a Cyt1 or Cyt2 cytoplasmic tail, demonstrating the ability of different isoforms of CD46 to function as MV receptors in vivo. In addition, maternally transferred immunity delayed death of offspring given a lethal dose of MV. These results document a novel CD46 transgenic murine model where MV neuronal infection is associated with the production of infectious virus, similarly to progressive infectious measles encephalitis seen in immunocompromised patients, and provide a new means to study pathogenesis of MV infection in the CNS.