Bacterial lipopolysaccharide binds and stimulates cytokine-producing cells before neutralization by endogenous lipoproteins can occur

Cytokine. 1998 Oct;10(10):766-72. doi: 10.1006/cyto.1998.0364.


Lipoproteins are able to bind to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and neutralize its deleterious effects. However, it is not clear why the LPS-binding capacity of circulating lipoproteins, which is 10- to 10 000-fold above the maximal LPS concentrations found in septic patients, is not sufficient to inhibit the effects of LPS during an infection, whereas infusion of exogenous lipoproteins has a potent inhibitory action. In this study, the kinetics of LPS-neutralization by VLDL, LDL, and HDL were investigated, at lipoprotein-to-LPS ratios found in severe Gram-negative sepsis. At least 4-8-h preincubation of LPS with either LDL or HDL were necessary to inhibit 50% of the LPS-induced TNF-alpha production by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), whereas after 24 h of preincubation LDL or HDL strongly inhibited the TNF-alpha synthesis (70-90%, P<0.01). VLDL was the least effective lipoprotein fraction. In contrast, FITC-LPS bound to PBMC much more rapidly, with 70% of the total binding after 30 min, and 90% after 1-h incubation. The increase of LDL or HDL concentrations up to 10-fold (as in experimental models of hyperlipoproteinaemia) was able not only to further decrease TNF-alpha production after long LPS-lipoproteins preincubation periods, but also to improve the kinetics of LPS neutralization. In conclusion, LPS binds and stimulates the mononuclear cells in circulation before neutralization by endogenous lipoproteins can occur. Additional increase in the lipoprotein-to-LPS molar ratio (e.g. by infusion of exogenous lipoproteins) accelerates the kinetics of LPS neutralization, and may be useful as adjunctive therapy in severe Gram-negative infections.

MeSH terms

  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacokinetics*
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins / pharmacokinetics*
  • Protein Binding
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism*


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Lipoproteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha