TLR2 deficiency leads to increased Th17 infiltrates in experimental brain abscesses

Jessica R. Nichols, Amy L. Aldrich, Monica M. Mariani, Debbie Vidlak, Nilufer Esen, Tammy Kielian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


TLR2 plays a pivotal role in recognizing Staphylococcus aureus, a common etiologic agent of CNS parenchymal infections, such as brain abscess. We previously reported that brain abscesses of TLR2 knockout (KO) mice exhibited elevated IL-17 levels, suggesting the presence of an alternative pathway available to respond to S. aureus infection that may involve Th17 cells. Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cell infiltrates were elevated in brain abscesses of TLR2 KO mice at days 3, 7, and 14 postinfection compared with wild-type animals. Intracellular cytokine staining revealed a significant increase in the frequency of IL-17-producing Th17 cells in TLR2 KO mice with relatively few IFN-γ-positive cells. γδ T cells were also a source of IL-17 in brain abscesses. Microglia, astrocytes, and macrophages were shown to express both IL-17RA and IL-17RC. Despite receptor expression, IL-17 was relatively ineffective at eliciting glial activation, whereas the cytokine augmented the ability of TNF-α to induce CXCL2 and CCL2 expression by macrophages. Based on the ability of IL-17 to elicit the release of chemokines and other proinflammatory mediators, we propose that the exaggerated IL-17 response that occurs in TLR2 KO mice functions in a compensatory manner to control brain abscess pathogenesis, with cells other than glia as targets for IL-17 action. This is supported by our findings in which innate immune infiltrates were not significantly different between TLR2 KO and wild-type mice in conjunction with the lack of prolonged alterations in the synthesis of other proinflammatory molecules during the course of infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7119-7130
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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