Inhibition of Necroptosis to Prevent Long-term Cardiac Damage during Pneumococcal Pneumonia and Invasive Disease

Academic Article


  • Background: Streptococcus pneumoniae infection can result in bacteremia with devastating consequences including heart damage. Necroptosis is a proinflammatory form of cell death instigated by pore-forming toxins such as S. pneumoniae pneumolysin. Necroptosis-inhibiting drugs may lessen organ damage during invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). Methods: In vitro experiments were carried out with human and mouse cardiomyocytes. Long-term cardiac damage was assessed using high-resolution echocardiography in ampicillin-rescued mice 3 months after challenge with S. pneumoniae. Ponatinib, a necroptosis-inhibiting and Food and Drug Administration-approved drug for lymphocytic leukemia treatment, was administered intraperitoneally alongside ampicillin to test its therapeutic efficacy. Histology of heart sections included hematoxylin-eosin staining for overt damage, immunofluorescence for necroptosis, and Sirius red/fast green staining for collagen deposition. Results: Cardiomyocyte death and heart damage was due to pneumolysin-mediated necroptosis. IPD leads to long-term cardiac damage, as evidenced by de novo collagen deposition in mouse hearts and a decrease in fractional shortening. Adjunct necroptosis inhibition reduced the number of S. pneumoniae foci observed in hearts of acutely infected mice and serum levels of troponin I. Ponatinib reduced collagen deposition and protected heart function in convalescence. Conclusions: Acute and long-term cardiac damage incurred during IPD is due in part to cardiomyocyte necroptosis. Necroptosis inhibitors may be a viable adjunct therapy.
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    Author List

  • Beno SM; Riegler AN; Gilley RP; Brissac T; Wang Y; Kruckow KL; Jadapalli JK; Wright GM; Shenoy AT; Stoner SN
  • Start Page

  • 1882
  • End Page

  • 1893
  • Volume

  • 222
  • Issue

  • 11