Bacterial meningitis and inflammation

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Bacterial meningitis is a condition in which inflammation plays a role in disease resolution and also contributes to morbidity. Markers of inflammation may be used to aid in establishing diagnoses and prognoses. Medical management aimed at modulating the inflammatory response with broadly active, potent glucocorticosteroids has proved useful as an adjunct to antimicrobial therapy in selected patient populations. Basic immunobiologists, in describing components of the immune response that define its features of specificity, recognition, activation, regulation and tolerance induction have opened the door for the development of agents with focused activity that permit selective immunomodulation. New insights regarding management may result from a better understanding of the role of inflammation in bacterial meningitis.

Recent findings

Insights have been gained from recent basic and clinical scientific investigations that examine the components and consequences of inflammation in animal models and patients with bacterial meningitis.

Summary

This issue of Current Opinion in Neurology addresses recent reports that illustrate aspects of the inflammatory responses associated with bacterial meningitis that emphasize the need for early diagnosis, and contribute to prognosis assessment, and reviews the investigations that may predict the next steps in the evolution of clinical management.

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