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Journal Title

Journal of Neuroinflammation

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BACKGROUND: A craniotomy is required to access the brain for tumor resection or epilepsy treatment, and despite precautionary measures, infectious complications occur at a frequency of 1-3%. Approximately half of craniotomy infections are caused by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) that forms a biofilm on the bone flap, which is recalcitrant to antibiotics. Our prior work in a mouse model of S. aureus craniotomy infection revealed a critical role for myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) in bacterial containment and pro-inflammatory mediator production. Since numerous receptors utilize MyD88 as a signaling adaptor, the current study examined the importance of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and TLR9 based on their ability sense S. aureus ligands, namely lipoproteins and CpG DNA motifs, respectively. We also examined the role of caspase-1 based on its known association with TLR signaling to promote IL-1β release.

METHODS: A mouse model of craniotomy-associated biofilm infection was used to investigate the role of TLR2, TLR9, and caspase-1 in disease progression. Wild type (WT), TLR2 knockout (KO), TLR9 KO, and caspase-1 KO mice were examined at various intervals post-infection to quantify bacterial burden, leukocyte recruitment, and inflammatory mediator production in the galea, brain, and bone flap. In addition, the role of TLR2-dependent signaling during microglial/macrophage crosstalk with myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) was examined.

RESULTS: TLR2, but not TLR9, was important for preventing S. aureus outgrowth during craniotomy infection, as revealed by the elevated bacterial burden in the brain, galea, and bone flap of TLR2 KO mice concomitant with global reductions in pro-inflammatory mediator production compared to WT animals. Co-culture of MDSCs with microglia or macrophages, to model interactions in the brain vs. galea, respectively, also revealed a critical role for TLR2 in triggering pro-inflammatory mediator production. Similar to TLR2, caspase-1 KO animals also displayed increased S. aureus titers coincident with reduced pro-inflammatory mediator release, suggestive of pathway cooperativity. Treatment of caspase-1 KO mice with IL-1β microparticles significantly reduced S. aureus burden in the brain and galea compared to empty microparticles, confirming the critical role of IL-1β in limiting S. aureus outgrowth during craniotomy infection.

CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate the existence of an initial anti-bacterial response that depends on both TLR2 and caspase-1 in controlling S. aureus growth; however, neither pathway is effective at clearing infection in the WT setting, since craniotomy infection persists when both molecules are present.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.