Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
BMC Infect Dis. 2013 Aug 27;13:393. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-13-393.

Vitamin B6 reduces hippocampal apoptosis in experimental pneumococcal meningitis.

Author information

  • 1Biology Division, Spiez Laboratory, Federal Office for Civil Protection, Austrasse, CH-3700, Spiez, Switzerland. stephen.leib@babs.admin.ch.



Bacterial meningitis caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae leads to death in up to 30% of patients and leaves up to half of the survivors with neurological sequelae. The inflammatory host reaction initiates the induction of the kynurenine pathway and contributes to hippocampal apoptosis, a form of brain damage that is associated with learning and memory deficits in experimental paradigms. Vitamin B6 is an enzymatic cofactor in the kynurenine pathway and may thus limit the accumulation of neurotoxic metabolites and preserve the cellular energy status. The aim of this study in a pneumococcal meningitis model was to investigate the effect of vitamin B6 on hippocampal apoptosis by histomorphology, by transcriptomics and by measurement of cellular nicotine amide adenine dinucleotide content.


Eleven day old Wistar rats were infected with 1x10(6) cfu/ml of S. pneumoniae and randomized for treatment with vitamin B6 or saline as controls. Vitamin B6 led to a significant (p > 0.02) reduction of hippocampal apoptosis. According to functional annotation based clustering, vitamin B6 led to down-regulation of genes involved in processes of inflammatory response, while genes encoding for processes related to circadian rhythm, neuronal signaling and apoptotic cell death were mostly up-regulated.


Our results provide evidence that attenuation of apoptosis by vitamin B6 is multi-factorial including down-modulation of inflammation, up-regulation of the neuroprotective brain-derived neurotrophic factor and prevention of the exhaustion of cellular energy stores. The neuroprotective effect identifies vitamin B6 as a potential target for the development of strategies to attenuate brain injury in bacterial meningitis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (5)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk