Leptospiral lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) extracted from Leptospira interrogans serovars copenhageni and hebdomadis were tested for the ability to induce macrophage activation. In-vitro analysis showed that each leptospiral LPS was a potent activator to macrophages. After stimulation with the LPSs, interleukin-1 (IL-1) secretion, interferon (IFN) production and chemiluminescence (CL) response were induced. Intravenous high-dose injection of the leptospiral LPSs induced various lesions such as necrosis of the liver, and the LPSs were detected in macrophages in the liver, spleen and lymphnodes by immunohistochemical examination. Enhancement of macrophage activity in mice inoculated with low doses of leptospiral LPS was recognized. The macrophages of the LPS-treated mice showed a significantly higher bactericidal action than those of control mice. The β-galactosidase and nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) positive cells in macrophages of the LPS-treated mice increased significantly. In the NBT reduction test after phagocytosis of latex beads or Salmonella typhimurium, the macrophages of the LPS-treated mice showed a significantly higher activity than those of control mice.
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