some cases, the bacteria spread to the CNS, causing meningitis. People
at risk include the very young and the elderly, people with advanced
HIV/AIDS, and those with sickle cell disease. Salmonella
meningitis, which was rare globally, is now one of the most common forms
of bacterial meningitis in parts of Africa and has a high case fatality
‘The new mouse model can be used to determine how Salmonella Typhimurium infects and causes damage in the brain. Researchers will also use it for studying potential treatments.’
National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists have established in
mice a way to study potentially life-threatening meningitis caused by Salmonella
Bacterial meningitis happens when bacteria infect the central nervous
system (CNS), causing a serious disease that can be life-threatening and
difficult to diagnose and treat. Patients who survive often have
permanent brain damage.
Researchers at NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) infected mice orally with Salmonella
Typhimurium to mimic food-borne infection. They found that Salmonella
moved from the GI tract to the blood and then to the brain, resulting in meningitis. Damage observed in the brains of Salmonella
-infected mice resembled that observed with human meningitis, providing a new model for investigators to study human disease.
Collaborators include Salmonella
and neuroimmunology experts
at NIAID's Rocky Mountain Laboratories and biologists at the University
of Colorado. They plan to use the model to determine how Salmonella
Typhimurium infects and causes damage in the brain, including which
immune cells are involved. They also will use the model to study
potential treatments to prevent Salmonella
from gaining access to the CNS or limiting the damage during meningitis.