Interleukin-18 gene-deficient mice show enhanced defense and reduced inflammation during pneumococcal meningitis.
Poll, T. van der
Furth, A.M. van
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To determine the role of endogenous interleukin-18 (IL-18) in pneumococcal meningitis, meningitis was induced in IL-18 gene-deficient (IL-18(-/-)) and wild-type (WT) mice by intranasal inoculation of Streptococcus pneumoniae with hyaluronidase. Induction of meningitis resulted in an upregulation of both pro- and mature IL-18 in brain tissue in WT mice. IL-18(-/-) and WT mice were equally susceptible to develop meningitis after intranasal infection, yet IL-18(-/-) mice showed a prolonged survival and a suppressed inflammatory response, as reflected by a less profound inflammatory infiltrate around the meninges and lower concentrations of cytokines and chemokines in brain tissue. These findings suggest that endogenous IL-18 contributes to a detrimental inflammatory response during pneumococcal meningitis and that elimination of IL-18 may improve the outcome of this disease.