ABSTRACT Escherichia coli is the most common Gram-negative bacillary organism causing meningitis, and E. coli meningitis continues to be an important cause of mortality and morbidity throughout the world. Our incomplete knowledge of its pathogenesis contributes to such mortality and morbidity. Recent reports of E. coli strains producing CTX-M-type or TEM-type extended-spectrum β-lactamases create a challenge. Studies using in vitro and in vivo models of the blood-brain barrier have shown that E. coli meningitis follows a high degree of bacteremia and invasion of the blood-brain barrier. E. coli invasion of the blood-brain barrier, the essential step in the development of E. coli meningitis, requires specific microbial and host factors as well as microbeand host-specific signaling molecules. Blockade of such microbial and host factors contributing to E. coli invasion of the blood-brain barrier is shown to be efficient in preventing E. coli penetration into the brain. The basis for requiring a high degree of bacteremia for E. coli penetration of the blood-brain barrier, however, remains unclear. Continued investigation on the microbial and host factors contributing to a high degree of bacteremia and E. coli invasion of the blood-brain barrier is likely to identify new targets for prevention and therapy of E. coli meningitis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas