Acinetobacter baumannii is a common nosocomial pathogen capable of causing severe diseases associated with significant morbidity and mortality in impaired hosts. Pattern recognition receptors, such as the Toll-like receptors (TLRs), play a key role in pathogen detection and function to alert the immune system to infection. Here, we examine the role for TLR9 signaling in response to A. baumannii infection. In a murine model of A. baumannii pneumonia, TLR9(-/-) mice exhibit significantly increased bacterial burdens in the lungs, increased extrapulmonary bacterial dissemination, and more severe lung pathology compared with those in wild-type mice. Following systemic A. baumannii infection, TLR9(-/-) mice have significantly increased bacterial burdens in the lungs, as well as decreased proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine production. These results demonstrate that TLR9-mediated pathogen detection is important for host defense against the opportunistic pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii.
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