Meningitis: Researchers find possible treatment strategy without antibiotics


THE BRAIN Meningitis is a serious brain infection with limited treatment options. In a new study performed on rats, researchers from the University of Copenhagen present an alternative treatment based on immune cells that helps remove the toxins in the brain that accumulate in connection with the infection.

Fever, headache, confusion, seizures, amputations or death.

Meningitis is a serious brain infection that can affect the body in many ways. It must be treated within 24 hours of becoming ill, and the World Health Organization estimates that there are close to three million cases a year. Among the four main causes of meningitis, the WHO is particularly concerned about bacterial meningitis, which is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae.

However, despite extensive use of vaccines, bacterial meningitis is still associated with a high mortality rate. The neurological consequences, i.e. Hearing loss, cognitive impairment, and focal neurological signs, occur in approximately half of the surviving patients. If you suffer from bacterial meningitis, antibiotic treatment is necessary. However, with an increasing risk of antibiotic resistance, there is an increasing need for new treatment strategies.

In a new study on rats, researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Lund University have succeeded in killing bacterial meningitis infection by utilizing the body's own immune cells instead of antibiotics.

“We observed in a rat model that a kind of immune cell, neutrophils, form a network-like structure in the membrane of the brain, the meninges. However, this particular network structure also causes swelling in the brain and prevents the removal of waste products. We discovered that if we dissolved the structure itself - not the immune cells - then the immune cells would continue to kill the meningitis bacteria, but without causing any swelling in the brain, ”says the study's first author and Ph.D. Chiara Pavan from the Center for Translational Neuromedicine.

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