BACKGROUND: \ud \ud Streptococcus pneumoniae causes several human diseases, including pneumonia and meningitis, in which pathology is associated with an excessive inflammatory response. A major inducer of this response is the cholesterol dependent pneumococcal toxin, pneumolysin. Here, we measured the amount of inflammatory cytokine CXCL8 (interleukin (IL)-8) by ELISA released by human nasopharyngeal epithelial (Detroit 562) cells as inflammatory response to a 24 h exposure to different pneumococcal strains.\ud \ud RESULTS: \ud \ud We found pneumolysin to be the major factor influencing the CXCL8 response. Cholesterol and sphingomyelin-containing liposomes designed to sequester pneumolysin were highly effective at reducing CXCL8 levels from epithelial cells exposed to different clinical pneumococcal isolates. These liposomes also reduced CXCL8 response from epithelial cells exposed to pneumolysin knock-out mutants of S. pneumoniae indicating that they also reduce the CXCL8-inducing effect of an unidentified pneumococcal virulence factor, in addition to pneumolysin.\ud \ud CONCLUSION: \ud \ud The results indicate the potential of liposomes in attenuating excessive inflammation as a future adjunctive treatment of pneumococcal diseases
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