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Brain Pathol. 2001 Jul;11(3):282-95.

Transcriptional regulation of caspases in experimental pneumococcal meningitis.

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Dept. of Neurology, University Hosp., Goettingen, Germany.


Apoptosis and necrosis in brain account for neurological sequelae in survivors of bacterial meningitis. In meningitis, several mechanisms may trigger death pathways leading to activation of transcription factors regulating caspases mRNA synthesis. Therefore, we used a multiprobe RNA protection assay (RPA) to examine the expression of 9 caspase-mRNA in the course of experimental Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis in mouse brain. Caspase-6, -7 and -11 mRNA were elevated 6 hours after infection. 12 hours after infection caspases-1, -2, -8 and -12 mRNA rose. Caspase-14 mRNA was elevated 18 h and caspase-3 mRNA 24 h after infection. In situ hybridization detected caspases-3, -8, -11 and -12 mRNA in neurons of the hippocampal formation and neocortex. Development of sepsis was paralleled by increased transcription of caspases mRNA in the spleen. In TNFalpha-deficient mice all caspases examined were less upregulated, in TNF-receptor 1/2 knockout mice caspases-1, -2, -7, -11 and -14 mRNA were increased compared to infected control animals. In caspase-1 deficient mice, caspases-11, and -12 mRNA levels did not rise in meningitis indicating the necessity of caspase-1 activating these caspases. Hippocampal formations of newborn mice incubated with heat-inactivated S. pneumoniae R6 showed upregulation of caspase-1, -3, -11 and -12 mRNA. These observations suggest a tightly regulated caspases network at the transcriptional level in addition to the known cascade at the protein level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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