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Characterization of the host inflammatory response to Staphylococcus epidermidis in neonatal whole blood
  1. christoph härtel (haertel{at}
  1. University of Luebeck, Germany
    1. Ines Osthues (ines.osthues{at}
    1. University of Luebeck, Germany
      1. Jan Rupp
      1. University of Luebeck, Germany
        1. Berit Haase
        1. University of Luebeck, Germany
          1. Kathrin Röder
          1. University of Luebeck, Germany
            1. Wolfgang Göpel
            1. University of Luebeck, Germany
              1. Egbert Herting
              1. University of Luebeck, Germany
                1. Christian Schultz
                1. University of Luebeck, Germany


                  Background: Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) are the most prevalent pathogens causing late-onset sepsis, and gestational age is the most important risk factor for these infections.

                  Objective: To characterize innate immune responses to S. epidermidis by assessment of whole blood in vitro cytokine production in a large group of preterm and term infants.

                  Results: The S. epidermidis-induced in vitro production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as intracytoplasmatic IL-6 and TNF- in cord blood samples was found to be dependent on gestational age (R=0.279, p=0.002; R=0.251, p=0.005, respectively; n=121). In contrast, the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-10 and TGF-ß was not associated with gestational age. Comparing different stimulation strategies, a strong correlation was noted for cytokine responses after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and S. epidermidis exposure, i.e. IL-6 (R=0.431, p<0.001, n=161) and IL-10 (R=0.332, p<0.001, n=161). In addition, a lower IL-6 production was found in supernatants of whole blood cultures infected with a clinically isolated IcaABD positive (biofilm production) strain compared to a control IcaABD negative ATCC strain (p=0.009).

                  Conclusions:Our in vitro data suggest that pro-inflammatory responses to S. epidermidis are dependent on gestational age in preterm infants, while counteracting anti-inflammatory response to S. epidermidis might not be directly related to gestational age. Individual host factors may play a role as well as bacterial determinants, such as biofilm production. Further studies are encouraged to investigate the different aspects of innate immune responses to CoNS in the vivo situation.

                  • Staphylococcus epidermidis
                  • cytokines
                  • host immune responses
                  • neonates
                  • preterm infants

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