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Toll-Like Receptor Stimulation Enhances Phagocytosis And Intracellular Killing Of Nonencapsulated And Encapsulated Streptococcus Pneumoniae By Murine Microglia

S. Ribes, S. Ebert, T. Regen, A. Agarwal, S. Tauber, D. Czesnik, A. Spreer, S. Bunkowski, H. Eiffert, U. Hanisch, S. Hammerschmidt, R. Nau
Published 2009 · Biology, Medicine

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ABSTRACT Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are crucial pattern recognition receptors in innate immunity that are expressed in microglia, the resident macrophages of the brain. TLR2, -4, and -9 are important in the responses against Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most common agent causing bacterial meningitis beyond the neonatal period. Murine microglial cultures were stimulated with agonists for TLR1/2 (Pam3CSK4), TLR4 (lipopolysaccharide), and TLR9 (CpG oligodeoxynucleotide) for 24 h and then exposed to either the encapsulated D39 (serotype 2) or the nonencapsulated R6 strain of S. pneumoniae. After stimulation, the levels of interleukin-6 and CCL5 (RANTES [regulated upon activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted]) were increased, confirming microglial activation. The TLR1/2, -4, and -9 agonist-stimulated microglia ingested significantly more bacteria than unstimulated cells (P < 0.05). The presence of cytochalasin D, an inhibitor of actin polymerizaton, blocked >90% of phagocytosis. Along with an increased phagocytic activity, the intracellular bacterial killing was also increased in TLR-stimulated cells compared to unstimulated cells. Together, our data suggest that microglial stimulation by these TLRs may increase the resistance of the brain against pneumococcal infections.
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