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Thromb Res. 1992 Jul 15;67(2):243-52.

Stimulation of PAF-synthesis in pulmonary artery endothelial cells by Staphylococcus aureus alpha-toxin.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany.


Staphylococcus aureus alpha-toxin is a pore-forming exotoxin that probably represents a significant virulence factor in staphylococcal infections. Previous studies demonstrated that this agent stimulated arachidonate metabolism with subsequent formation of prostacyclin in endothelial cells and leukotriene B4 in granulocytes. We now examined the effect of alpha-toxin on the synthesis of platelet-activating factor (PAF) in cultured porcine pulmonary artery endothelial cells. PAF was labeled by bioincorporation of tritiated acetate and separated/quantitated using thin-layer chromatography, straight-phase-HPLC, or post-HPLC-bioassay. Alpha-toxin induced synthesis of small amounts of PAF in a time- and dose-dependent manner. The maximal amount of PAF elicited by alpha-toxin was approximately 7% of that observed after application of the ionophore A23187. Staphylococcal alpha-toxin but not the ionophore induced a rapid fall in cellular ATP-content. On kinetic grounds, the decrease in ATP-levels did not explain the differences in stimulated PAF-synthesis. Low amounts of PAF induced by the action of alpha-toxin on endothelial cells may contribute to the development of inflammatory lesions in infectious disease.

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