Evidence for Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (CPE) inducing a mitogenic and cytokine response in vitro and a cytokine response in vivo

Curr Microbiol. 1999 Feb;38(2):96-100. doi: 10.1007/s002849900410.


We investigated some immunogenic properties of Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (CPE) in vitro using murine J774A macrophages (MPhi) and in vivo using Swiss Webster (SW) mice. CPE was a potent mitogen in vitro, where cell proliferation increased with CPE concentration. CPE was nonmitogenic when MPhi were concurrently incubated with CPE and interferon gamma (IFN-gamma). MPhi incubated in the presence of CPE induced the synthesis of interleukin-1 (IL-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), but not interleukin-2 (IL-2). In vivo, CPE induced a pro-inflammatory cytokine response with striking production of IFN-gamma, IL-1, and IL-6. Regardless of route of CPE entry, serum cytokine levels generally peaked within 1 h of administration and were maintained for 4-8 h. Although CPE engenders an intense immune response during toxicosis, the toxin does not appear to be a superantigen. Death from CPE-induced shock appears to result from various interrelating immunological mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Clostridium perfringens / pathogenicity*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Enterotoxins / toxicity*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / toxicity
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis


  • Cytokines
  • Enterotoxins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • enterotoxin, Clostridium
  • Nitric Oxide