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Open Access Research article

Oxidative stress and S-100B protein in children with bacterial meningitis

Sherifa A Hamed1*, Enas A Hamed2 and Madeha M Zakary3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt

2 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt

3 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt

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BMC Neurology 2009, 9:51  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-9-51

Published: 8 October 2009



Bacterial meningitis is often associated with cerebral compromise which may be responsible for neurological sequelae in nearly half of the survivors. Little is known about the mechanisms of CNS involvement in bacterial meningitis. Several studies have provided substantial evidence for the key role of nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species in the complex pathophysiology of bacterial meningitis.


In the present study, serum and CSF levels of NO, lipid peroxide (LPO) (mediators for oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation); total thiol, superoxide dismutase (SOD) (antioxidant mediators) and S-100B protein (mediator of astrocytes activation and injury), were investigated in children with bacterial meningitis (n = 40). Albumin ratio (CSF/serum) is a marker of blood-CSF barriers integrity, while mediator index (mediator ratio/albumin ratio) is indicative of intrathecal synthesis.


Compared to normal children (n = 20), patients had lower serum albumin but higher NO, LPO, total thiol, SOD and S-100B. The ratios and indices of NO and LPO indicate blood-CSF barriers dysfunction, while the ratio of S-100B indicates intrathecal synthesis. Changes were marked among patients with positive culture and those with neurological complications. Positive correlation was found between NO index with CSF WBCs (r = 0.319, p < 0.05); CSF-LPO with CSF-protein (r = 0.423, p < 0.01); total thiol with LPO indices (r = 0.725, p < 0.0001); S-100B and Pediatric Glasow Coma Scores (0.608, p < 0.0001); CSF-LPO with CSF-S-100B (r = 0.482, p < 0.002); serum-total thiol with serum S-100B (r = 0.423, p < 0.01).


This study suggests that loss of integrity of brain-CSF barriers, oxidative stress and S-100B may contribute to the severity and neurological complications of bacterial meningitis.