The 14-3-3 proteins are cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) markers of neuronal damage during infectious meningitis and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Little is known about dynamic changes in the individual isoforms in response to parasitic eosinophilic meningitis. The purposes of this study were to determine the 14-3-3 protein isoform patterns, examine the kinetics and correlate the severity of blood brain barrier (BBB) damage with the expressions of these markers in mice with eosinophilic meningitis.
Mice were orally infected with 50 A. cantonensis L3 via an oro-gastric tube and sacrificed every week for 3 consecutive weeks after infection. The Evans blue method and BBB junctional protein expressions were used to measure changes in the BBB. Hematoxylin and eosin staining was used to analyze pathological changes in the mice brains following 1–3 weeks of infection with A. cantonensis. The levels of 14-3-3 protein isoforms in serum/CSF and brain homogenates were analyzed by Western blot, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) was used to explore the different isoform distributions of 14-3-3 proteins and changes in BBB junctional proteins in the mice brain meninges. Dexamethasone was injected intraperitoneally from the seventh day post infection (dpi) until the end of the study (21 dpi) to study the changes in BBB junctional proteins. The amounts of Evans blue, tight junction and 14-3-3 protein isoforms in the different groups of mice were compared using the nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis test.
There were significant increases in 14-3-3 protein isoforms β and γ in the CSF in the second and third weeks after infection compared to the controls and first week of infection, which were correlated with the severity of BBB damage in brain histology, and Evans blue extravasation. Using IHC to assess the distribution of 14-3-3 protein isoforms and changes in BBB junctional proteins in the mice brain meninges, the expressions of isoforms β, γ, ε, and θ and junctional proteins occludin and claudin-5 in the brain meninges increased over a 3-week period after infection compared to the controls and 1 week after infection. The administration of dexamethasone decreased the expressions of BBB junctional proteins occludin and claudin-5 in the mice brain meninges.
Our findings support that 14-3-3 proteins β and γ can potentially be used as a CSF marker of neuronal damage in parasitic eosinophilic meningitis caused by A. cantonensis.