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J Infect Dis. 2002 Sep 15;186(6):798-806. Epub 2002 Aug 16.

Toll-like receptor 2-deficient mice are highly susceptible to Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis because of reduced bacterial clearing and enhanced inflammation.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Research, University Hospital, Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


Toll-like receptor-2 (TLR2) mediates host responses to gram-positive bacterial wall components. TLR2 function was investigated in a murine Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis model in wild-type (wt) and TLR2-deficient (TLR2(-/-)) mice. TLR2(-/-) mice showed earlier time of death than wt mice (P<.02). Plasma interleukin-6 levels and bacterial numbers in blood and peripheral organs were similar for both strains. With ceftriaxone therapy, none of the wt but 27% of the TLR2(-/-) mice died (P<.04). Beyond 3 hours after infection, TLR2(-/-) mice had higher bacterial loads in brain than did wt mice, as assessed with luciferase-tagged S. pneumoniae by means of a Xenogen-CCD (charge-coupled device) camera. After 24 h, tumor necrosis factor activity was higher in cerebrospinal fluid of TLR2(-/-) than wt mice (P<.05) and was related to increased blood-brain barrier permeability (Evans blue staining, P<.02). In conclusion, the lack of TLR2 was associated with earlier death from meningitis, which was not due to sepsis but to reduced brain bacterial clearing, followed by increased intrathecal inflammation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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