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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7678542, 12 pages
Research Article

Lack of Proinflammatory Cytokine Interleukin-6 or Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-1 Results in a Failure of the Innate Immune Response after Bacterial Meningitis

1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany
2Department of Neurology, RWTH University Hospital Aachen, 52074 Aachen, Germany
3Department of Urology, University Medicine Greifswald, 17475 Greifswald, Germany

Received 13 November 2015; Accepted 4 January 2016

Academic Editor: Dezheng Zhao

Copyright © 2016 Lea-Jessica Albrecht et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The most frequent pathogen that causes bacterial meningitis is the Gram-positive bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. By entering the brain, host cells will be activated and proinflammatory cytokines like interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) are released. The goal of the current study was to examine the interaction between IL-6 and TNFR1 as receptor for TNF-α and the innate immune response in vivo in a model of Streptococcus pneumoniae-induced meningitis. For the experiments IL-6−/−, TNFR1−/−, and TNFR1-IL-6−/− KO mice were used. Our results revealed higher mortality rates and bacterial burden after infection in TNFR1−/−, IL-6−/−, and TNFR1-IL-6−/− mice and a decreased immune response including lower neutrophil infiltration in the meninges of TNFR1−/− and TNFR1-IL-6−/− mice in contrast to IL-6−/− and wild type mice. Furthermore, the increased mortality of TNFR1−/− and TNFR1-IL-6−/− mice correlated with decreased glial cell activation compared to IL-6−/− or wild type mice after pneumococcal meningitis. Altogether, the results show the importance of TNFR1 and IL-6 in the regulation of the innate immune response. The lack of TNFR1 and IL-6 results in higher mortality by weakened immune defence, whereas the lack of TNFR1 results in more severe impairment of the innate immune response than the lack of IL-6 alone.