The biological activity of a liposomal complete core lipopolysaccharide vaccine

J Endotoxin Res. 2002;8(1):39-46.


A vaccine that induces humoral immunity to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), while remaining non-pyrogenic should be beneficial, as high levels of antibodies against LPS are associated with a reduced risk of adverse outcome. However, pure LPS or bacteria expressing LPS are generally considered too toxic to be used as vaccines. Recently, a novel, immunogenic complete core lipopolysaccharide vaccine has been described, which has been designed to prevent endotoxin-related inflammatory reactions in surgical and high-risk hospitalized patients. In vivo studies have shown that while administration of the vaccine to rabbits results in no toxicity over 7 days, it does induce significantly enhanced antibody responses towards a broad range of clinically relevant Gram-negative LPSs. Here we show that encapsulation of the four complete core LPS types Escherichia coli K12, Escherichia coli R1, Bacteroides fragilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa into liposomes greatly reduces the ability of a given amount of LPS to induce TNF-alpha production in vitro from human monocytes. In contrast to previous studies of liposomal LPS, we demonstrate a reduction in activity of approximately 100,000-fold; a reduction approximately 100-1,000-fold more than that previously described. The signalling by the liposomal LPS appears to be entirely dependent on serum factors, though this can be partially restored by soluble CD14 or, to a lesser extent, by lipopolysaccharide binding protein. Time-course experiments reveal that liposomal LPS signalling shows similar kinetics to pure LPS signalling. Therefore, as well as inducing specific antibody responses, liposomal LPS demonstrates characteristics suitable for use as a vaccine to be used in human beings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation
  • Bacterial Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology
  • Bacteroides fragilis / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic
  • Escherichia coli / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology*
  • Liposomes
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / immunology*
  • Rabbits
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Liposomes
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha