Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 21811575
Link to DOI – 10.1371/journal.pone.0022210
PLoS One 2011 ; 6(7): e22210
Severe meningococcal sepsis is still of high morbidity and mortality. Its management may be improved by an experimental model allowing better understanding of its pathophysiology. We developed an animal model of meningococcal sepsis in transgenic BALB/c mice expressing human transferrin. We studied experimental meningococcal sepsis in congenic transgenic BALB/c mice expressing human transferrin by transcriptional profiling using microarray analysis of blood and brain samples. Genes encoding acute phase proteins, chemokines and cytokines constituted the largest strongly regulated groups. Dynamic bioluminescence imaging further showed high blood bacterial loads that were further enhanced after a primary viral infection by influenza A virus. Moreover, IL-1 receptor-associated kinase-3 (IRAK-3) was induced in infected mice. IRAK-3 is a negative regulator of Toll-dependant signaling and its induction may impair innate immunity and hence result in an immunocompromised state allowing bacterial survival and systemic spread during sepsis. This new approach should enable detailed analysis of the pathophysiology of meningococcal sepsis and its relationships with flu infection.