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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1993 Mar;37(3):393-7.

Effects of two magainin peptides on eicosanoid release from rat peritoneal macrophages.

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Department of Physiology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425.


Magainins are novel polycationic peptides with broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, including activity against gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative bacteremia can elicit endotoxic shock that is associated with the increased formation of eicosanoids. Inhibition of eicosanoid synthesis has been shown to improve the outcome of experimental endotoxic shock. The aim of the present study was to test the in vitro effects of two magainin peptides, MSI-97 (M1) and MSI-98 (M2), on eicosanoid synthesis by rat peritoneal macrophages (M phi) stimulated by Salmonella enteritidis lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 50 micrograms/ml) and Salmonella minnesota lipid A (5 micrograms/ml) and to compare their effects on LPS reactivity with a metachromatic dye. M1 (100 micrograms/ml) significantly (P < 0.05) reduced LPS-stimulated synthesis of thromboxane B2 (TXB2), without changing 6-keto-prostaglandin F1 alpha in M phi. Similarly, M2 (10 micrograms/ml) significantly attenuated M phi synthesis of TXB2 stimulated by either LPS or lipid A. However, at a higher concentration (100 micrograms/ml), M2 but not M1 significantly augmented LPS-induced increases in TXB2 and 6-keto-prostaglandin F1 alpha. Polymyxin B (40 micrograms/ml) inhibited LPS production and lipid A-stimulated TXB2 production. M1 (100 micrograms/ml) and polymyxin B (10 and 40 micrograms/ml) also inhibited calcium ionophore A23187 (10 microM)-induced synthesis of TXB2. The lipid A moiety of LPS reacts with dimethylmethylene blue dye, providing a metachromatic assay of LPS. This metachromatic reaction with lipid A was significantly reduced by polymyxin B and M2 at all concentrations. M1 was effective only at the highest M1:lipid A concentration ratio (2:1). Thus, M1 and M2 share some similarities with polymyxin B in inhibiting lipid A reactivity with the dye, which suggests that these magainins may also bind to lipid A. However, M1 was devoid of any inhibitory effects on dye reactivity with S. enteritidis LPS and M2 was inhibitory at only one concentration ratio (1:5). In conclusion, the varied effects of the magainin peptides on LPS, lipid A, and M phi eicosanoid synthesis appear to depend on the type of peptide used and on its concentration.

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