Endotoxin pp 375-387 | Cite as

Immunopharmacologic Aspects of Lipopolysaccharide Endotoxin Action with Special Reference to Cyclic Nucleotides

  • J. W. Hadden
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 256)


Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are responsible for the immunopharmacologic activities of the endotoxins of gram-negative bacteria. This chapter will discuss their immunopharmacologic actions and the evidence that their actions are mediated in part by cyclic nucleotides. The lipopolysaccharides are ubiquitous in nature and have many immunomodulatory activities. As a result, many immunologists consider them ever present nuisances perturbing their experiments. Clearly in the context of endotoxemia and sepsis the toxicities of endotoxins on the body’s defense systems, including hyperpyrexia, intra-vascular coagulation. reticuloendothelial system (RES) blockade, etc., can be considered host destructive. On the other hand, in the absence of disease, low doses of endotoxins may be considered positive immunoregulatory contributing to more effective host defense. It is possible to envision them as being part of the host defense mechanism. It may be that the nonpathogenic gastrointestinal flora provides a continuous low level of LPS acting as hormonal signals to promote the development and enhance the function of the entire immune system. Endotoxins regulate, either directly or indirectly. almost every phase of the development and function of the natural and specific immune defense systems of the body. They generally promote growth and function of the cell populations involved. They do so at low concentrations (ng/ml), i.e., at concentrations which may be periodically, even regularly. achieved locally and perhaps also systemically. Finally, they appear to act via the cyclic nucleotide pathways by which many of the body’s hormones act and many of the molecules mediating immune function are also thought to act. They, therefore, qualify as messengers acting via receptors and hormonal pathways in physiologically constructive ways.


Cyclic Nucleotide Guanylate Cyclase Phorbol Myristate Acetate Bacterial Endotoxin Immature Thymocyte 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. W. Hadden
    • 1
  1. 1.Program of Immunopharmacology, Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of South Florida College of MedicineTampaUSA

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