Background: Infections caused by community-associated strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) are associated with a marked and prolonged host inflammatory response. In a sepsis simulation model, we tested whether the anesthetic ketamine inhibits the macrophage TNF response to antibiotic-exposed CA-MRSA bacteria via its antagonism of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. RAW264.7 cells were stimulated for 18 hrs with 105 to 107 CFU/mL inocula of either of two prototypical CA-MRSA isolates, USA300 strain LAC and USA400 strain MW2, in the presence of either vancomycin or daptomycin. One hour before bacterial stimulation, ketamine was added with or without MK-801 (dizocilpine, a chemically unrelated non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist), APV (D-2-amino-5-phosphono-valerate, a competitive NMDA receptor antagonist), NMDA, or combinations of these agents. Supernatants were collected and assayed for TNF concentration by ELISA.Results: RAW264.7 cells exposed to either LAC or MW2 in the presence of daptomycin secreted less TNF than in the presence of vancomycin. The addition of ketamine inhibited macrophage TNF secretion after stimulation with either of the CA-MRSA isolates (LAC, MW2) in the presence of either antibiotic. The NMDA inhibitors, MK-801 and APV, also suppressed macrophage TNF secretion after stimulation with either of the antibiotic-exposed CA-MRSA isolates, and the effect was not additive or synergistic with ketamine. The addition of NMDA substrate augmented TNF secretion in response to the CA-MRSA bacteria, and the addition of APV suppressed the effect of NMDA in a dose-dependent fashion.Conclusions: Ketamine inhibits TNF secretion by MRSA-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages and the mechanism likely involves NMDA receptor antagonism. These findings may have therapeutic significance in MRSA sepsis.
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