Inhibition of inducible nitric oxide controls pathogen load and brain damage by enhancing phagocytosis of Escherichia coli K1 in neonatal meningitis

Rahul Mittal, Ignacio Gonzalez-Gomez, Kerstin A. Goth, Nemani V. Prasadarao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Escherichia coli K1 is a leading cause of neonatal meningitis in humans. In this study, we sought to determine the pathophysiologic relevance of inducible nitric oxide (iNOS) in experimental E. coli K1 meningitis. By using a newborn mouse model of meningitis, we demonstrate that E. coli infection triggered the expression of iNOS in the brains of mice. Additionally, iNOS-/- mice were resistant to E. coli K1 infection, displaying normal brain histology, no bacteremia, no disruption of the blood-brain barrier, and reduced inflammatory response. Treatment with an iNOS specific inhibitor, aminoguanidine (AG), of wild-type animals before infection prevented the development of bacteremia and the occurrence of meningitis. The infected animals treated with AG after the development of bacteremia also completely cleared the pathogen from circulation and prevented brain damage. Histopathological and micro-CT analysis of brains revealed significant damage in E. coli K1-infected mice, which was completely abrogated by AG administration. Peritoneal macrophages and polymorphonuclear leukocytes isolated from iNOS-/- mice or pretreated with AG demonstrated enhanced uptake and killing of the bacteria compared with macrophages and polymorphonuclear leukocytes from wild-type mice in which E. coli K1 survive and multiply. Thus, NO produced by iNOS may be beneficial for E. coli to survive inside the macrophages, and prevention of iNOS could be a therapeutic strategy to treat neonatal E. coli meningitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1292-1305
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Volume176
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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