Stroke Propagates Bacterial Aspiration to Pneumonia in a Model of Cerebral Ischemia
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Background and Purpose— Bacterial pneumonia is the most common cause of death in patients sustaining acute stroke and is believed to result from an increased aspiration. Recently, stroke-induced immunodeficiency was described in a mouse model of cerebral ischemia, which is primarily caused by overactivation of sympathetic nervous system. We tested if stroke-induced immunodeficiency increases the risk of pneumonia after aspiration in a newly developed model of poststroke pneumonia.
Methods— Experimental stroke in mice was induced by occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCAO) for 60 minutes. Aspiration pneumonia was induced by intranasal application of 20 μL of a defined suspension of Streptococcus pneumoniae in phosphate-buffered saline 4 or 14 days after MCAO. Treatment comprised moxifloxacin (100 mg/kg body weight, six times every 2 hours after operation) or propranolol (30 mg/kg body weight, immediately before as well as 4 and 8 hours after MCAO). Readout was lung histology and bacterial counts in lung and blood.
Results— Nasal inoculation of only 200 colony-forming units of S pneumoniae caused severe pneumonia and bacteremia after experimental stroke, whereas 200 000 colony-forming units are needed to induce comparable disease in sham animals. Aspiration pneumonia in stroke animals outlasted acute stroke state but was preventable by β-adrenoreceptor blockade.
Conclusions— Experimental stroke propagates bacterial aspiration from harmless intranasal colonization to harmful pneumonia. Prevention of infections by β-adrenoreceptor blockade suggests that immunodepression by sympathetic hyperactivity is essential for progression of bacterial aspiration to pneumonia.
- Received March 20, 2006.
- Revision received June 22, 2006.
- Accepted July 6, 2006.