Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Previous infection with Staphylococcus aureus strains attenuated experimental encephalomyelitis

Thais Graziela Donegá França1, Fernanda Chiuso-Minicucci1, Sofia Fernanda Gonçalves Zorzella-Pezavento1, Larissa Lumi Watanabe Ishikawa1, Larissa Camargo da Rosa1, Priscila Maria Colavite1, Camila Marques2, Maura Rosane Valério Ikoma2, Maria de Lourdes Ribeiro de Souza da Cunha1 and Alexandrina Sartori1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Biosciences Institute, Univ Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Distrito de Rubião Júnior s/n, 18618-000 Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil

2 Laboratório de Citometria de Fluxo, Fundação Dr. Amaral Carvalho, Jaú, São Paulo, Brazil

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BMC Neuroscience 2014, 15:8  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-15-8

Published: 9 January 2014



Bacterial superantigens are potent T cell activators that can activate T cells with specificity for antigens of the central nervous system (CNS). In this study, we compared the effect of two S. aureus strains on experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) development. C57BL/6 female mice were infected with S. aureus ATCC 51650, which produces toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1+) or S. aureus ATCC 43300, which does not produce toxins (TOX-). Three days later, the animals were subjected to EAE induction by immunization with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG). The weight variation, disease incidence and clinical score were recorded daily. Cytokines and Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in the brain were evaluated during the acute disease phase. Cytokines and Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in the spleen and histopathological analysis of the CNS were assessed during the chronic stage.


Previous infection with both strains similarly decreased the clinical score; however, only the TSST-1+ strain clearly diminished inflammation in the CNS. The infections also modulated cytokine production in the spleen and CNS. Reduced production of IL-5 and IL-10 was detected in MOG-stimulated spleen cultures in the TOX- and TSST-1+ infected groups, respectively. In S. aureus stimulated cultures, there was an increased production of IFN-γ and IL-10 in both infected groups and an increased level of IL-5 in the TSST-1+ group. CNS infiltrating cell cultures from previously infected mice produced less IL-17 in response to MOG and more IFN-γ in response to S. aureus stimulation.


These results indicated that both strains attenuated clinical EAE manifestations, but only TSST-1 clearly decreased CNS inflammation.

S. aureus; Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; Toxic shock syndrome toxin 1