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J Infect Dis. 1992 Aug;166(2):350-8.

Blood-brain barrier damage in patients with bacterial meningitis: association with tumor necrosis factor-alpha but not interleukin-1 beta.

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Department of Clinical Neurochemistry, Institute of Neurology, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, United Kingdom.


Brain damage after meningeal infection could result from impairment of cerebral endothelial cell functions and disruption of blood-brain barriers. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF alpha) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) produce many of their effects by acting on endothelial cells. This study correlates levels of TNF alpha and IL-1 beta in paired cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum samples with the degree of blood-brain barrier damage, as manifested by CSF to serum albumin quotient, in 48 patients with bacterial meningitis and 66 controls. CSF levels of TNF alpha and IL-1 beta in bacterial meningitis were significantly higher than in controls. Intrathecal levels of TNF alpha, but not IL-1 beta, correlated with albumin quotient (P less than .001), with degree of blood-brain barrier disruption (P less than .001), and with disease severity and indices of meningeal inflammation. Sequential CSF samples demonstrated that IL-1 beta and TNF alpha disappear from the CSF within 24 h of antibiotic treatment. Data presented here suggest that TNF alpha is related to blood-brain barrier damage in bacterial meningitis and that its effect could be dissociated from that of IL-1 beta.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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