Method for inducing experimental pneumococcal meningitis in outbred mice.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis. Pneumococcal meningitis is associated with the highest mortality among bacterial meningitis and it may also lead to neurological sequelae despite the use of antibiotic therapy. Experimental animal models of pneumococcal meningitis are important to study the pathogenesis of meningitis, the host immune response induced after infection, and the efficacy of novel drugs and vaccines. RESULTS: In the present work, we describe in detail a simple, reproducible and efficient method to induce pneumococcal meningitis in outbred mice by using the intracranial subarachnoidal route of infection. Bacteria were injected into the subarachnoid space through a soft point located 3.5 mm rostral from the bregma. The model was tested with several doses of pneumococci of three capsular serotypes (2, 3 and 4), and mice survival was recorded. Lethal doses killing 50 % of animals infected with type 2, 3 and 4 S. pneumoniae were 3.2 x 10, 2.9 x 10 and 1.9 x 10(2) colony forming units, respectively. Characterisation of the disease caused by the type 4 strain showed that in moribund mice systemic dissemination of pneumococci to blood and spleen occurred. Histological analysis of the brain of animals infected with type 4 S. pneumoniae proved the induction of meningitis closely resembling the disease in humans. CONCLUSIONS: The proposed method for inducing pneumococcal meningitis in outbred mice is easy-to-perform, fast, cost-effective, and reproducible, irrespective of the serotype of pneumococci used.
Project description:The Gram-positive bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae is the main causative agent of bacterial meningitis. S. pneumoniae is thought to invade the central nervous system via the bloodstream by crossing the vascular endothelium of the blood-brain barrier. The exact mechanism by which pneumococci cross endothelial cell barriers before meningitis develops is unknown. Here, we investigated the role of PECAM-1/CD31, one of the major endothelial cell adhesion molecules, in S. pneumoniae adhesion to vascular endothelium of the blood-brain barrier. Mice were intravenously infected with pneumococci and sacrificed at various time points to represent stages preceding meningitis. Immunofluorescent analysis of brain tissue of infected mice showed that pneumococci colocalized with PECAM-1. In human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC) incubated with S. pneumoniae, we observed a clear colocalization between PECAM-1 and pneumococci. Blocking of PECAM-1 reduced the adhesion of S. pneumoniae to endothelial cells in vitro, implying that PECAM-1 is involved in pneumococcal adhesion to the cells. Furthermore, using endothelial cell protein lysates, we demonstrated that S. pneumoniae physically binds to PECAM-1. Moreover, both in vitro and in vivo PECAM-1 colocalizes with the S. pneumoniae adhesion receptor pIgR. Lastly, immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that PECAM-1 can physically interact with pIgR. In summary, we show for the first time that blood-borne S. pneumoniae colocalizes with PECAM-1 expressed by brain microvascular endothelium and that, in addition, they colocalize with pIgR. We hypothesize that this interaction plays a role in pneumococcal binding to the blood-brain barrier vasculature prior to invasion into the brain.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae is the main cause of bacterial meningitis, a life-threating disease with a high case fatality rate despite treatment with antibiotics. Pneumococci cause meningitis by invading the blood and penetrating the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Using stimulated emission depletion (STED) super-resolution microscopy of brain biopsies from patients who died of pneumococcal meningitis, we observe that pneumococci colocalize with the two BBB endothelial receptors: polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR) and platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM-1). We show that the major adhesin of the pneumococcal pilus-1, RrgA, binds both receptors, whereas the choline binding protein PspC binds, but to a lower extent, only pIgR. Using a bacteremia-derived meningitis model and mutant mice, as well as antibodies against the two receptors, we prevent pneumococcal entry into the brain and meningitis development. By adding antibodies to antibiotic (ceftriaxone)-treated mice, we further reduce the bacterial burden in the brain. Our data suggest that inhibition of pIgR and PECAM-1 has the potential to prevent pneumococcal meningitis.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae is thought to adhere to the blood-brain barrier (BBB) endothelium prior to causing meningitis. The platelet activating factor receptor (PAFR) has been implicated in this adhesion but there is a paucity of data demonstrating direct binding of the bacteria to PAFR. Additionally, studies that inhibit PAFR strongly suggest that alternative receptors for pneumococci are present on the endothelium. Therefore, we studied the roles of PAFR and pIgR, an established epithelial pneumococcal receptor, in pneumococcal adhesion to brain endothelial cells in vivo. Mice were intravenously infected with pneumococci and sacrificed at various time points before meningitis onset. Co-localization of bacteria with PAFR and pIgR was investigated using immunofluorescent analysis of the brain tissue. In vitro blocking with antibodies and incubation of pneumococci with endothelial cell lysates were used to further probe bacteria-receptor interaction. In vivo as well as in vitro pneumococci did not co-localize with PAFR. On the other hand the majority of S. pneumoniae co-localized with endothelial pIgR and pIgR blocking reduced pneumococcal adhesion to endothelial cells. Pneumococci physically interacted with pIgR in endothelial cell lysates. In conclusion, bacteria did not associate with PAFR, indicating an indirect role of PAFR in pneumococcal adhesion to endothelial cells. In contrast, pIgR on the BBB endothelium may represent a novel pneumococcal adhesion receptor.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococci) is a leading cause of severe bacterial meningitis in many countries worldwide. To characterize the repertoire of fitness and virulence factors predominantly expressed during meningitis we performed niche-specific analysis of the in vivo proteome in a mouse meningitis model, in which bacteria are directly inoculated into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cisterna magna. We generated a comprehensive mass spectrometry (MS) spectra library enabling bacterial proteome analysis even in the presence of eukaryotic proteins. We recovered 200,000 pneumococci from CSF obtained from meningitis mice and by MS we identified 685 pneumococci proteins in samples from in vitro filter controls and 249 in CSF isolates. Strikingly, the regulatory two-component system ComDE and substrate-binding protein AliB of the oligopeptide transporter system were exclusively detected in pneumococci recovered from the CSF. In the mouse meningitis model, AliB-, ComDE-, or AliB-ComDE-deficiency resulted in attenuated meningeal inflammation and disease severity when compared to wild-type pneumococci indicating the crucial role of ComDE and AliB in pneumococcal meningitis. In conclusion, we show here mechanisms of pneumococcal adaptation to a defined host compartment by a proteome-based approach. Further, this study provides the basis of a promising strategy for the identification of protein antigens critical for invasive disease caused by pneumococci and other meningeal pathogens.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) is a Gram-positive bacterium and the predominant cause of bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is thought to occur as the result of pneumococci crossing the blood-brain barrier to invade the Central Nervous System (CNS); yet little is known about the steps preceding immediate disease development. To study the interactions between pneumococci and the vascular endothelium of the blood-brain barrier prior to meningitis we used an established bacteremia-derived meningitis model in combination with immunofluorescent imaging. Brain tissue of mice infected with S. pneumoniae strain TIGR4, a clinical meningitis isolate, was investigated for the location of the bacteria in relation to the brain vasculature in various compartments. We observed that S. pneumoniae adhered preferentially to the subarachnoid vessels, and subsequently, over time, reached the more internal cerebral areas including the cerebral cortex, septum, and choroid plexus. Interestingly, pneumococci were not detected in the choroid plexus till 8 hours-post infection. In contrast to the lungs, little to no leukocyte recruitment to the brain was observed over time, though Iba-1 and GFAP staining showed that microglia and astrocytes were activated as soon as 1 hour post-infection. Our results imply that i) the local immune system of the brain is activated immediately upon entry of bacteria into the bloodstream and that ii) adhesion to the blood brain barrier is spatiotemporally controlled at different sites throughout the brain. These results provide new information on these two important steps towards the development of pneumococcal meningitis.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is the primary cause of bacterial meningitis. Pneumococcal bacteria penetrates the blood-brain barrier (BBB), but the bacterial factors that enable this process are not known. Here, we determined that expression of pneumococcal pilus-1, which includes the pilus adhesin RrgA, promotes bacterial penetration through the BBB in a mouse model. S. pneumoniae that colonized the respiratory epithelium and grew in the bloodstream were chains of variable lengths; however, the pneumococci that entered the brain were division-competent, spherical, single cocci that expressed adhesive RrgA-containing pili. The cell division protein DivIVA, which is required for an ovoid shape, was localized at the poles and septum of pneumococcal chains of ovoid, nonseparated bacteria, but was absent in spherical, single cocci. In the bloodstream, a small percentage of pneumococci appeared as piliated, RrgA-expressing, DivIVA-negative single cocci, suggesting that only a minority of S. pneumoniae are poised to cross the BBB. Together, our data indicate that small bacterial cell size, which is signified by the absence of DivIVA, and the presence of an adhesive RrgA-containing pilus-1 mediate pneumococcal passage from the bloodstream through the BBB into the brain to cause lethal meningitis.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality due to community acquired pneumonia, bacterial meningitis and bacteraemia worldwide. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines protect against invasive disease, but are expensive to manufacture, limited in serotype coverage, associated with serotype replacement and demonstrate reduced effectiveness against mucosal colonisation. As asymptomatic colonisation of the human nasopharynx is a prerequisite for pneumococcal disease, this is proposed as a marker for novel vaccine efficacy. Our team established a safe and reproducible pneumococcal controlled human infection model at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). This has been used to test vaccine induced protection against nasopharyngeal carriage for ten years in over 1000 participants. We will transfer established standardised operating procedures from LSTM to Malawi and test in up to 36 healthy participants. Primary endpoint: detection of the inoculated pneumococci by classical culture from nasal wash recovered from the participants after pneumococcal challenge. Secondary endpoints: confirmation of robust clinical and laboratory methods for sample capture and processing. Tertiary endpoints: participant acceptability of study and methods. We will test three doses of pneumococcal inoculation (20,000, 80,000 and 160,000 colony forming units [CFUs] per naris) using a parsimonious study design intended to reduce unnecessary exposure to participants. We hypothesise that 80,000 CFUs will induce nasal colonisation in approximately half of participants per established LSTM practice. The aims of the feasibility study are: 1) Establish Streptococcus pneumoniae experimental human pneumococcal carriage in Malawi; 2) Confirm optimal nasopharyngeal pneumococcal challenge dose; 3) Confirm safety and measure potential symptoms; 4) Confirm sampling protocols and laboratory assays; 5) Assess feasibility and acceptability of consent and study procedures. Confirmation of pneumococcal controlled human infection model feasibility in Malawi will enable us to target pneumococcal vaccine candidates for an at-risk population who stand the most to gain from new and improved vaccine strategies.
Project description:UNLABELLED: The transmission of the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) marks the first step toward disease development. To date, our ability to prevent pneumococcal transmission has been limited by our lack of understanding regarding the factors which influence the spread of this pathogen. We have previously developed an infant mouse model of pneumococcal transmission which was strictly dependent on influenza A virus (IAV) coinfection of both the experimentally colonized "index mice" and the naive cohoused "contact mice." Here, we sought to use this model to further elucidate the factors which facilitate S. pneumoniae transmission. In the present report, we demonstrate that increasing the nasopharyngeal load of S. pneumoniae in the colonized index mice (via the depletion of neutrophils) and inducing a proinflammatory response in the naive cohoused contact mice (as demonstrated by cytokine production) facilitates S. pneumoniae transmission. Thus, these data provide the first insights into the factors that help mediate the spread of S. pneumoniae throughout the community. IMPORTANCE: Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) is a major cause of worldwide morbidity and mortality and is a leading cause of death among children under the age of five years. Transmission of S. pneumoniae marks the first step toward disease development. Therefore, understanding the factors that influence the spread of pneumococci throughout the community plays an essential role in preventing pneumococcal disease. We previously developed the first reproducible infant mouse model for pneumococcal transmission and showed that coinfection with influenza virus facilitates the spread of S. pneumoniae. Here, we show that increasing the bacterial load in the nasal cavity of colonized individuals as well as inducing an inflammatory response in naive "contact cases" facilitates the spread of pneumococci. Therefore, this study helps to identify the factors which must be inhibited in order to successfully prevent pneumococcal disease.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis and neurological sequelae in children worldwide. Acute bacterial meningitis is widely considered to result from bacteremia that leads to blood-brain barrier breakdown and bacterial dissemination throughout the central nervous system (CNS). Previously, we showed that pneumococci can gain access to the CNS through a nonhematogenous route without peripheral blood infection. This access is thought to occur when the pneumococci in the upper sinus follow the olfactory nerves and enter the CNS through the olfactory bulbs. In this study, we determined whether the addition of exogenous sialic acid postcolonization promotes nonhematogenous invasion of the CNS. Previously, others showed that treatment with exogenous sialic acid post-pneumococcal infection increased the numbers of CFU recovered from an intranasal mouse model of infection. Using a pneumococcal colonization model, an in vivo imaging system, and a multiplex assay for cytokine expression, we demonstrated that sialic acid can increase the number of pneumococci recovered from the olfactory bulbs and brains of infected animals. We also show that pneumococci primarily localize to the olfactory bulb, leading to increased expression levels of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. These findings provide evidence that sialic acid can enhance the ability of pneumococci to disseminate into the CNS and provide details about the environment needed to establish nonhematogenous pneumococcal meningitis.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of bacterial pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis. Surface accessible proteins of S. pneumoniae are being explored for the development of a protein-based vaccine in order to overcome the limitations of existing polysaccharide-based pneumococcal vaccines. To identify a potential vaccine candidate, we resolved surface-associated proteins of S. pneumoniae TIGR4 strain using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by immunoblotting with antisera generated against whole heat-killed TIGR4. Ten immunoreactive spots were identified by mass spectrometric analysis that included a putative lipoprotein SP0845. Analysis of the inferred amino acid sequence of sp0845 homologues from 36 pneumococcal strains indicated that SP0845 was highly conserved (>98% identity) and showed less than 11% identity with any human protein. Our bioinformatic and functional analyses demonstrated that SP0845 is the substrate-binding protein of an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter that is involved in nucleoside uptake with cytidine, uridine, guanosine and inosine as the preferred substrates. Deletion of the gene encoding SP0845 renders pneumococci avirulent suggesting that it is essential for virulence. Immunoblot analysis suggested that SP0845 is expressed in in vitro grown pneumococci and during mice infection. Immunofluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry data indicated that SP0845 is surface exposed in encapsulated strains and accessible to antibodies. Subcutaneous immunization with recombinant SP0845 induced high titer antibodies in mice. Hyperimmune sera raised against SP0845 promoted killing of encapsulated pneumococcal strains in a blood bactericidal assay. Immunization with SP0845 protected mice from intraperitoneal challenge with heterologous pneumococcal serotypes. Based on its surface accessibility, role in virulence and ability to elicit protective immunity, we propose that SP0845 may be a potential candidate for a protein-based pneumococcal vaccine.