Objectives: To investigate the effect of RC-527, a synthetic toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) agonist, on stimulating the immune response before acute Streptococcus pneumoniae sinusitis in a mouse model, and to determine the importance of TLR4 in modulating the response to S. pneumoniae. Toll-like receptor 4 agonists have been shown to induce protective innate immune responses when administered before some bacterial or viral challenges in mice.
Design: We intranasally inoculated BALB/c, TLR4 complex-deficient C3H/HeJ, and wild-type C3H/HeOuJ mice with S. pneumoniae 24 hours after treatment with 10 or 1 microg of RC-527 or vehicle. Bacterial counts from nasal lavage culture and the cell markers GR1, CD11b, CD3, CD4, and CD8 in sinus tissue were quantified at postinoculation days 2, 5, and 14.
Main outcome measure: Immune response induced by RC-527.
Results: Treatment with RC-527 induced an immune response through TLR4, as demonstrated by recruitment of phagocytes in uninfected wild-type C3H/HeOuJ mice, but not in TLR4 complex-deficient C3H/HeJ mice. The immune response was also demonstrated by a significant increase of CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+ T cells in infected and uninfected wild-type C3H/HeOuJ mice, but not in TLR4 complex-deficient C3H/HeJ mice. However, the enhancement of the immune response induced by the TLR4 agonist showed a limited effect on bacterial clearance.
Conclusions: Our studies in mice suggest that stimulation of TLR4 plays a minor role in the overall response to S. pneumoniae infection of the upper airway, and stimulating this receptor before infection does not significantly enhance the immune response of immunocompetent mice to clear S. pneumoniae infection.