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01.12.2018 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Journal of Neuroinflammation 1/2018

Characterization of a Listeria monocytogenes meningitis mouse model

Journal of Neuroinflammation > Ausgabe 1/2018
Merel M. Koopmans, JooYeon Engelen-Lee, Matthijs C. Brouwer, Valery Jaspers, Wing Kit Man, Mercedes Vall Seron, Diederik van de Beek
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12974-018-1293-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Listeria monocytogenes is a common cause of bacterial meningitis. We developed an animal model of listerial meningitis.


In survival studies, C57BL/6 mice received intracisternal injections with different L. monocytogenes sequence type 1 (ST1) colony forming units per milliliter (CFU; n = 48, 105, 106, 107, 108, and 109 CFU/ml). Second, mice were inoculated with 108 CFU/ml ST1 and sacrificed at 6 h and 24 h (n = 12/group). Outcome parameters were clinical score, CFUs, cyto- and chemokine levels, and brain histopathology. Third, 84 mice were inoculated (109 CFU/ml ST1) to determine optimal antibiotic treatment with different doses of amoxicillin and gentamicin. Fourth, mice were inoculated with 109 CFU/ml ST1, treated with amoxicillin, and sacrificed at 16 h and 24 h (n = 12/group) for outcome assessment. Finally, time point experiments were repeated with ST6 (n = 24/group).


Median survival time for inoculation with 108 and 109 CFU/ml ST1 was 46 h and 40 h; lower doses of bacteria led to minimal clinical signs of disease. Brain levels of IL-6, IL-17A, and IFN-γ were elevated at 24 h, and IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10, IFN-γ, and TNF-α were elevated in blood at 6 h and 24 h. Histopathology showed increased meningeal infiltration, vascular inflammation of meningeal vessels, hemorrhages, and ventriculitis. In the treatment model, brain levels of IL-6 and IL-17A and blood levels of IL-6 and IFN-γ were elevated. Compared to ST6, infection with ST1 led initially to higher levels of IL-1β and TNF-α in blood and more profound neuropathological damage. At 16 h post inoculation, IL-1β, IL-10, and TNF-α in blood and IL-6, IL17A, TNF-α, and IFN-γ levels in brain were higher in ST1 compared to ST6 without differences in CFUs between STs. At 24 h, neuropathology score was higher in ST1 compared to ST6 (p = 0.002) infected mice.


We developed and validated a murine model of listerial meningitis. ST1-infected mice had a more severe inflammatory response and brain damage as compared to ST6-infected mice.
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