Animal studies have provided substantial evidence for a key role of reactive oxygen species, nitric oxide and its related compounds in the complex pathophysiology of bacterial meningitis. However, there is little information on changes in the redox status in human meningitis. In the present study, we evaluated the redox status and oxidative stress in the central nervous system of children with meningitis. Oxidant and antioxidant activities were assessed from cerebrospinal fluid levels of acrolein-lysine adducts (a marker of lipid peroxidation), nitrite (a marker of nitric oxide production) and bilirubin derivatives (a marker of antioxidant activity of bilirubin). All these markers were several times higher in children during the early phase of bacterial meningitis compared with those of children without meningitis and patients with aseptic meningitis. In the bacterial meningitis group, the levels of bilirubin derivatives correlated significantly with those of acrolein-lysine adducts and nitrite. Acrolein-lysine adducts and nitrite decreased significantly as the patients started to respond to treatment but bilirubin derivatives remained elevated. In conclusion, our data indicate the enhancement of both oxidant and antioxidant activities in the central nervous system of children with early bacterial meningitis, but not in those with aseptic meningitis. Clinical and laboratory improvement may be associated with a decrease in oxidant activities in the central nervous system.
- Nitric oxide
- Oxidative stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)