Background. Staphylococcus aureus arthritis causes severe and rapid joint damage despite antibiotics. Thus, there is a need to identify new treatment targets in addition to antibiotics. Lately, interleukin 15 (IL-15) has been implicated both in osteoclastogenesis and in bacterial clearance-2 important issues in S. aureus-induced joint destruction. This has prompted us to investigate the importance of IL-15 in S. aureus-induced arthritis.
Methods.Toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 producing S. aureus was intravenously inoculated in IL-15 knockout and wildtype mice and in wildtype mice treated with anti-IL-15 antibodies (aIL-15ab) or isotype control antibody.
Results. Absence of IL-15, either in knockout mice or after treatment with aIL-15ab, significantly reduced weight loss compared with controls during the infection. The severity of synovitis and joint destruction was significantly decreased in IL-15 knockout and aIL-15ab treated mice compared with controls. In IL-15 knockout mice there was a reduced number of osteoclasts in the joints. The host's ability to clear bacteria was not influenced in the IL-15 knockout mice, but significantly increased after treatment with aIL-15ab.
Conclusions. IL-15 is a mediator of joint destruction in S. aureus-induced arthritis and contributes to general morbidity, which makes this cytokine an interesting treatment target in addition to conventional antibiotics.
2012. Vol. 206, no 5, 687-696 p.