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Infect Immun. 1990 Aug;58(8):2429-37.

Differential cytokine induction by doses of lipopolysaccharide and monophosphoryl lipid A that result in equivalent early endotoxin tolerance.

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Department of Microbiology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.


The phenomenon of early endotoxin tolerance, which is induced by sublethal injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), results in a protracted period of hyporesponsiveness that is most profound at 3 to 4 days after injection and is marked by reduced cytokine production after a challenge injection of LPS. Early endotoxin tolerance is also induced by the nontoxic LPS derivative monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL), although much more of the monophosphoryl derivative is required to produce a state of tolerance equivalent to that evoked by LPS. In this study, equivalent tolerance-inducing doses of LPS and MPL were tested, and the levels of cytokines induced by LPS and MPL were compared. Although induced levels of colony-stimulating factor were comparable following doses of LPS and MPL that elicited an equivalent state of early endotoxin tolerance, levels of tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-6, and interferon were significantly lower in MPL-injected animals. These results suggest that the lowered toxicity of MPL may be related to its elicitation of significantly lower levels of potentially toxic intermediaries such as tumor necrosis factor, interferon, and interleukin-6.

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