Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Adjuvant glycerol is not beneficial in experimental pneumococcal meningitis

Cornelia Blaser15, Matthias Klein25, Denis Grandgirard15, Matthias Wittwer15, Heikki Peltola35, Michael Weigand4, Uwe Koedel25 and Stephen L Leib15*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Infectious Diseases, University of Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland

2 Department of Neurology, Klinikum Großhadern, Ludwig-Maximilians University, 81377 Munich, Germany

3 Helsinki University Central Hospital, Hospital for Children and Adolescents, 00029 HUS Helsinki, Finland

4 Institute of Clinical Chemistry, Klinikum Großhadern, Ludwig-Maximilians University, 81377 Munich, Germany

5 The Meningitis Study Group of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (EMESG)

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:84  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-84

Published: 30 March 2010



Bacterial meningitis in children causes high rates of mortality and morbidity. In a recent clinical trial, oral glycerol significantly reduced severe neurological sequelae in paediatric meningitis caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b, and a tendency towards a benefit of adjunctive glycerol was seen in pneumococcal meningitis.


Here we examined the effects of glycerol in pneumococcal meningitis of infant rats and adult mice. All animals received ceftriaxone, and glycerol or placebo. Brain damage, hearing loss, and inflammatory parameters were assessed.


Clinically and by histopathology, animals treated with glycerol or placebo did not differ. While both groups showed equally high levels of matrix metalloproteinase-9 at 24 h after infection, a significant difference in favour of glycerol was observed at 40 h after infection. However, this difference in matrix metalloproteinase-9 in late disease did not result in an improvement of histopathologic parameters.


No benefit of adjunctive glycerol was found in these models of pneumococcal meningitis.