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Immunology - Microbiology - Ophthalmology

Role of Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) 2 in Experimental Bacillus cereus Endophthalmitis
Published: Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Author: Billy D. Novosad et al.

by Billy D. Novosad, Roger A. Astley, Michelle C. Callegan

Bacillus cereus causes a uniquely rapid and blinding intraocular infection, endophthalmitis. B. cereus replicates in the eye, synthesizes numerous toxins, and incites explosive intraocular inflammation. The mechanisms involved in the rapid and explosive intraocular immune response have not been addressed. Because Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are integral to the initial recognition of organisms during infection, we hypothesized that the uniquely explosive immune response observed during B. cereus endophthalmitis is directly influenced by the presence of TLR2, a known Gram-positive pathogen recognition receptor. To address this hypothesis, we compared the courses of experimental B. cereus endophthalmitis in wild type C57BL/6J mice to that of age-matched homozygous TLR2-/- mice. Output parameters included analysis of bacterial growth, inflammatory cell (PMN) infiltration, cytokine/chemokine kinetics, retinal function testing, and histology, with N=4 eyes/assay/time point/mouse strain. B. cereus grew at similar rates to108 CFU/eye by 12 h, regardless of the mouse strain. Retinal function was preserved to a greater degree in infected TLR2-/- eyes compared to that of infected wild type eyes, but infected eyes of both mouse strains lost significant function. Retinal architecture was preserved in infected TLR2-/- eyes, with limited retinal and vitreal cellular infiltration compared to that of infected wild type eyes. Ocular myeloperoxidase activities corroborated these results. In general, TNFa, IFN?, IL6, and KC were detected in greater concentrations in infected wild type eyes than in infected TLR2-/- eyes. The absence of TLR2 resulted in decreased intraocular proinflammatory cytokine/chemokine levels and altered recruitment of inflammatory cells into the eye, resulting in less intraocular inflammation and preservation of retinal architecture, and a slightly greater degree of retinal function. These results demonstrate TLR2 is an important component of the initial ocular response to B. cereus endophthalmitis.