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Infect Immun. Oct 1993; 61(10): 4167–4172.
PMCID: PMC281140

Induction of release of tumor necrosis factor from human monocytes by staphylococci and staphylococcal peptidoglycans.


The role of cytokines in gram-positive infections is still relatively poorly defined. The purpose of this study was to establish whether or not intact staphylococci and purified peptidoglycans and peptidoglycan components derived from staphylococci are capable of stimulating the release of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) by human monocytes. We show here that intact staphylococci and purified peptidoglycans, isolated from three Staphylococcus epidermidis and three S. aureus strains, were indeed able to induce secretion of TNF by human monocytes in a concentration-dependent fashion. TNF release was detected by both enzyme immunoassay and the L929 fibroblast bioassay. In the enzyme immunoassay, a minimal concentration of peptidoglycan of 1 micrograms/ml was required to detect TNF release by monocytes, whereas in the bioassay a peptidoglycan concentration of 10 micrograms/ml was needed to detect a similar amount of TNF release. Peptidoglycan components such as the stem peptide, tetra- and pentaglycine, and muramyl dipeptide were unable to induce TNF release from human monocytes.

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