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Ricci, Susanna; Grandgirard, Denis; Wenzel, Michael; Braccini, Tiziana; Salvatore, Paola; Oggioni, Marco R.; Leib, Stephen L.; Ködel, Uwe: Inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases attenuates brain damage in experimental meningococcal meningitis. In: BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:726
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Abstract

Background: Approximately 7% of survivors from meningococcal meningitis (MM) suffer from neurological sequelae due to brain damage in the course of meningitis. The present study focuses on the role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in a novel mouse model of MM-induced brain damage. Methods: The model is based on intracisternal infection of BALB/c mice with a serogroup C Neisseria meningitidis strain. Mice were infected with meningococci and randomised for treatment with the MMP inhibitor batimastat (BB-94) or vehicle. Animal survival, brain injury and host-response biomarkers were assessed 48 h after meningococcal challenge. Results: Mice that received BB-94 presented significantly diminished MMP-9 levels (p < 0.01), intracerebral bleeding (p < 0.01), and blood brain barrier (BBB) breakdown (p < 0.05) in comparison with untreated animals. In mice suffering from MM, the amount of MMP- 9 measured by zymography significantly correlated with both intracerebral haemorrhage (p < 0.01) and BBB disruption (p < 0.05). Conclusions: MMPs significantly contribute to brain damage associated with experimental MM. Inhibition of MMPs reduces intracranial complications in mice suffering from MM, representing a potential adjuvant strategy in MM post-infection sequelae.