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Clin Exp Immunol. 1997 Aug;109(2):233-41.

Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae induce different intracerebral mRNA cytokine patterns during the course of experimental bacterial meningitis.

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Division of Neurology, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Using in situ hybridization with radiolabelled oligonucleotide probes, we studied the mRNA expression of IL-1beta, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12, tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), TNF-beta, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) in the brain during the lethal course of experimental meningitis in a rat model inoculated intracisternally with Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) or Streptococcus pneumoniae and in uninfected control rats inoculated with the same volume of PBS. The production of IL-1beta, IL-4, IL-6 and IFN-gamma was also evaluated by immunohistochemistry. In the brain of Hib-inoculated rats, there was marked mRNA expression of IL-1beta, IL-6, TNF-alpha, IL-12 and IFN-gamma. IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha were up-regulated throughout the observation period at 2, 8 and 18 h post-inoculation (p.i.), with similar patterns of induction. The Th1 cytokines IFN-gamma and TNF-beta were up-regulated within 8 h p.i. IL-10 and TGF-beta were down-regulated at 18 h p.i., while IL-4 was not detected. In contrast, the brain of S. pneumoniae-inoculated rats showed lower levels of IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha, but higher levels of TNF-beta and detectable mRNA expression of IL-4 when compared with Hib-inoculated rats. IL-12, IFN-gamma, IL-10 and TGF-beta exhibited similar patterns of induction in the brains of Hib- and S. pneumoniae-inoculated rats. At 18 h p.i., immunohistochemistry showed similar patterns of IL-1beta, IL-4, IL-6 and IFN-gamma as mRNA expression in the brains of Hib- and S. pneumoniae-inoculated rats. The differences of cytokine profiles induced by the two bacterial strains may imply that different immunomodulating approaches should be considered, depending on etiology.

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