Targeting E. coli invasion of the blood–brain barrier for investigating the pathogenesis and therapeutic development of E. coli meningitis

Ningyu Zhu, Wei Liu, Atish Prakash, Chengxian Zhang, Kwang Sik Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Escherichia coli is the most common Gram-negative bacillary organism causing neonatal meningitis. Escherichia coli meningitis remains an important cause of mortality and morbidity, but the pathogenesis of E. coli penetration of the blood–brain barrier remains incompletely understood. Escherichia coli entry into the brain occurs in the meningeal and cortex capillaries, not in the choroid plexus, and exploits epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and cysteinyl leukotrienes (CysLTs) for invasion of the blood–brain barrier. The present study examined whether EGFR and CysLTs are inter-related in their contribution to E. coli invasion of the blood–brain barrier and whether counteracting EGFR and CysLTs is a beneficial adjunct to antibiotic therapy of E. coli meningitis. We showed that (a) meningitis isolates of E. coli exploit EGFR and CysLTs for invasion of the blood–brain barrier, (b) the contribution of EGFR is upstream of that of CysLTs, and (c) counteracting EGFR and CysLTs as an adjunctive therapy improved the outcome (survival, neuronal injury and memory impairment) of animals with E. coli meningitis. These findings suggest that investigation of host factors contributing to E. coli invasion of the blood–brain barrier will help in enhancing the pathogenesis and development of new therapeutic targets for E. coli meningitis in the era of increasing resistance to conventional antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCellular microbiology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • blood–brain barrier
  • CysLTs
  • E. coli meningitis
  • EGFR
  • therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Virology

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