Group A streptococcus (GAS) infection may cause severe life-threatening diseases, including necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. Despite the availability of effective antimicrobial agents, there has been a worldwide increase in the incidence of invasive GAS infection. Kallistatin (KS), originally found to be a tissue kallikrein-binding protein, has recently been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties. However, its efficacy in microbial infection has not been explored. In this study, we transiently expressed the human KS gene by hydrodynamic injection and investigated its anti-inflammatory and protective effects in mice via air pouch inoculation of GAS. The results showed that KS significantly increased the survival rate of GAS-infected mice. KS treatment reduced local skin damage and bacterial counts compared with those in mice infected with GAS and treated with a control plasmid or saline. While there was a decrease in immune cell infiltration of the local infection site, cell viability and antimicrobial factors such as reactive oxygen species actually increased after KS treatment. The efficiency of intracellular bacterial killing in neutrophils was directly enhanced by KS administration. Several inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin 1, and interleukin 6, in local infection sites were reduced by KS. In addition, KS treatment reduced vessel leakage, bacteremia, and liver damage after local infection. Therefore, our study demonstrates that KS provides protection in GAS-infected mice by enhancing bacterial clearance, as well as reducing inflammatory responses and organ damage.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases