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Infect Immun. 2009 Mar;77(3):1008-14. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00976-08. Epub 2008 Dec 22.

Defects in innate immunity predispose C57BL/6J-Leprdb/Leprdb mice to infection by Staphylococcus aureus.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Channing Laboratory, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Foot and ankle infections are the most common cause of hospitalization among diabetic patients, and Staphylococcus aureus is a major pathogen implicated in these infections. Patients with insulin-resistant (type 2) diabetes are more susceptible to bacterial infections than nondiabetic subjects, but the pathogenesis of these infections is poorly understood. C57BL/6J-Lepr(db)/Lepr(db) (hereafter, db/db) mice develop type 2 diabetes due to a recessive, autosomal mutation in the leptin receptor. We established a S. aureus hind paw infection in diabetic db/db and nondiabetic Lepr(+/+) (+/+) mice to investigate host factors that predispose diabetic mice to infection. Nondiabetic +/+ mice resolved the S. aureus hind paw infection within 10 days, whereas db/db mice with persistent hyperglycemia developed a chronic infection associated with a high bacterial burden. Diabetic db/db mice showed a more robust neutrophil infiltration to the infection site and higher levels of chemokines in the infected tissue than +/+ mice. Blood from +/+ mice killed S. aureus in vitro, whereas db/db blood was defective in bacterial killing. Compared with peripheral blood neutrophils from +/+ mice, db/db neutrophils demonstrated a diminished respiratory burst when stimulated with S. aureus. However, bone marrow-derived neutrophils from +/+ and db/db mice showed comparable phagocytosis and bactericidal activity. Our results indicate that diabetic db/db mice are more susceptible to staphylococcal infection than their nondiabetic littermates and that persistent hyperglycemia modulates innate immunity in the diabetic host.

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