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Infect Immun. 1993 Aug;61(8):3149-56.

Endotoxin-mediated endothelial cell injury and activation: role of soluble CD14.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles 90027.


Vascular endothelial cell (EC) injury by lipopolysaccharides (LPS) plays a major role in the pathogenesis of gram-negative bacterial sepsis and endotoxic shock. The studies described here were performed to define further the molecular mechanisms involved in the EC responses to LPS. We showed that serum was required for LPS-mediated cytotoxicity for bovine brain microvessel, pulmonary, and aortic ECs and that anti-human CD14 antibodies completely blocked LPS-mediated cytotoxicity for ECs in the presence of human serum. The addition of a recombinant soluble form of human CD14 to serum-free medium restored the LPS-mediated cytotoxicity, whereas the addition of LPS binding protein (LBP), a serum protein that potentiates LPS-induced responses to monocytes, had no effect. A similar dependency on serum or recombinant soluble CD14 (under serum-free conditions) was observed for LPS-induced secretion of interleukin-6 by human umbilical vein ECs. These findings indicate that soluble CD14 is required for LPS-mediated EC responses independently of LPB, suggesting that serum soluble CD14 represents a naturally occurring agonist for EC responses to LPS.

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