Age does not influence the disease course in a mouse model of Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 3 meningitis

  • In order to elucidate the causes for the increased mortality of aged patients with bacterial central nervous system (CNS) infections, we compared the course of Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) meningitis in aged and young mice. Aged (21.2 ± 3.1 months, n = 40) and young (3.2 ± 0.9 months, n = 42) C57BL/6N and B6/SJL mice were infected by intracerebral injection of 50–70 CFU S. pneumoniae serotype 3 and monitored for 15 days. Aged and young mice did not differ concerning mortality (35% versus 38%), weight loss, development of clinical symptoms, bacterial concentrations in cerebellum and spleen as well as the number of leukocytes infiltrating the CNS. In contrast to results from our geriatric mouse model of Escherichia coli (E. coli) meningitis, where aged mice showed a higher mortality and an impaired elimination of bacteria, we did not find any differences between aged and young mice after intracerebral infection with S. pneumoniae serotype 3. This indicates that the increased susceptibility of aged mice to bacterial CNS infections is pathogen-specific: It appears less prominent in infections caused by hardly phagocytable pathogens with thick capsules like S. pneumoniae serotype 3, where the age-related decline of the phagocytic capacity of microglia and macrophages has a minor influence on the disease course.

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Author:Anja Manig, Sandra Ribes, Catharina Diesselberg, Stephanie Bunkowski, Roland Nau, Sandra Schütze
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Immunity & ageing
Publisher:BioMed Central
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/09/07
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/09/20
Tag:Age; Bacterial meningitis; CNS; Immunosenescence; Mouse model; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Survival
Issue:Art. 20
Page Number:5
First Page:1
Last Page:5
Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0