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J Med Microbiol. 1988 Aug;26(4):269-80.

The importance of extracellular antigens in Pseudomonas cepacia infections.

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Department of Microbiology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock 79430.


A clinical isolate of Pseudomonas cepacia from a cystic fibrosis patient was examined for its ability to produce extracellular toxic material. The organism was grown to stationary phase in a defined medium and toxic material was isolated by ultrafiltration, ion-exchange chromatography on DEAE-Sephacel and gel-filtration chromatography on Sepharose 4B. It consisted of a surface carbohydrate antigen, lipopolysaccharide and protein, and had an LD50 (when injected intraperitoneally into mice) of 395 +/- 20 micrograms. The toxicity appeared to be associated with the lipopolysaccharide portion of the complex, because boiling for 15 min and exposure to proteolytic enzymes had no effect on toxicity. However, saponification destroyed the toxicity of the compound. Studies employing radial immunodiffusion with the sera of mice infected with this organism demonstrated production of the complex in vivo at levels approaching those sufficient to produce death. When sublethal amounts of this complex were placed in the lungs of specific-pathogen-free rats, the lung pathology observed after 12, 24, 36 and 48 h was extensive. However, antibody generated in rabbits against this material could protect mice against the complex, as well as against challenge by the homologous organism. These data indicate that extracellular toxic material produced by P. cepacia may be responsible for the lethality and lung tissue destruction normally associated with an active pneumonia caused by this organism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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