Distinctive Immunomodulatory Effects of Endotoxin and Nontoxic Lipopolysaccharide Derivatives in Lymphoid Cell Cultures

J Biol Response Mod. 1987 Dec;6(6):664-77.


Endotoxin derived from Serratia marcescens, as well as a hydrolyzed polysaccharide-rich derivative from the bacteria similar to the White-type polysaccharide (WPS), and hydrolyzed split products of endotoxin, including Lipid A and the nontoxic polysaccharide (PS), were studied in terms of their ability to induce mitogenic proliferation of murine spleen cells in vitro and enhancement of antibody formation to sheep erythrocytes. The intact endotoxin and the Lipid A component induced marked proliferative activity of normal lymphoid cells, but the PS components obtained after a 30 min or longer mild hydrolysis of the endotoxin had much less mitogenic activity. The WPS preparation retained mitogenic activity after 30 min but lost it during continued hydrolysis. Nevertheless, all of the components were marked adjuvants for murine spleen cells in vitro in terms of enhancing the antibody response to sheep red cells. Both the intact endotoxin as well as the Lipid A component induced interleukin-1 and interferons, including alpha/beta and gamma, following stimulation of spleen cell cultures for 24 h in vitro. Although only the endotoxin and Lipid A, but not the PS components, were mitogenic for murine splenocytes, all of these preparations had immune adjuvant effects and induced spleen cells to produce or release interferons. However, the PS-rich derivative did not induce tumor necrosis factor. These distinct properties of components of endotoxin indicate that the nontoxic PS-rich derivative, as compared to the toxic endotoxin or Lipid A, has some immunostimulatory activities but lacks others.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic*
  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation / drug effects
  • Endotoxins / isolation & purification
  • Endotoxins / pharmacology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Interferons / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-1 / biosynthesis
  • Lipopolysaccharides / isolation & purification
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Serratia marcescens


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Endotoxins
  • Interleukin-1
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Interferons