Streptococcus pneumoniae damages the ciliated ependyma of the brain during meningitis
journal contributionposted on 29.11.2007, 17:48 by Robert A. Hirst, Bejal Gosai, Andrew Rutman, Peter W. Andrew, Christopher L. O'Callaghan
Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis remains a disease with a poor outcome for the patient. A region of the brain that has been neglected in the study of meningitis is the ependyma, which has been identified as a location of adult pluripotent cells. In this study we have used a rat model of meningitis to examine whether the ependymal layer is affected by S. pneumoniae. The effects included localized loss of cilia, a decrease of the overall ependymal ciliary beat frequency, and damage to the ependymal ultrastructure during meningitis. In conclusion, loss of ependymal cells and ciliary function exposes the underlying neuronal milieu to host and bacterial cytotoxins and this is likely to contribute to the neuropathology commonly observed in pneumococcal meningitis.