Mediators of gram-positive septic shock
Gram-positive bacteria are increasingly becoming more prevalent especially Staphylococcus epidermidis in association with indwelling devices. Lipopolysaccaride (LPS) is the key Gram-negative component involved in this process, but it is not clear which components of Gram-positive bacteria are responsible for progression of this often fatal disease. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the effect of bacterial components on the immune systems. Lipid S, a short chain form of lipoteichoic acid (LTA) found to be excreted from bacteria during growth in culture medium was examined along with other Gram-positive cell wall components: LTA, peptidoglycan (PG) and wall teichoic acids (WTA) and LPS from Gram-negative bacteria. Lipid S, LTA, PG and LPS but not WTA all stimulated murine macrophages and cell lines to produce significant amounts of NO, TNF-a, IL-6 and IL-1 and would induce fever and tissue damage seen in inflammatory diseases. Lipid S proved to be the most potent out of the Gram-positive samples tested. IgG antibodies in patients serum were found to bind to and cross react with lipid S and LTA. Anti-inflammatory antibiotics, platelet activating factor (PAF), PAF receptor antagonists and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed to LTA, CD14 and toll-like receptors were utilised to modulate cytokine and NO production. In cell culture the anti-LTA and the anti-CD14 mAbs failed to markedly attenuate the production of NO, TNF-a, IL-6 or IL-1, the anti-TLR4 antibody did greatly inhibit the ability of LPS to stimulate cytokine production but not lipid S. The tetracyclines proved to be the most effective compounds, many were active at low concentrations and showed efficacy to inhibit both lipid S and LPS stimulated macrophages to produce NO.