. Immunoassays based on latex agglutination or enzyme labelling (ELISA) were devised for the detection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of , or its degradation products, in biological fluids of infected mice. The agglutination of latex was measured by counting of the remaining non-agglutinated particles in an automated immunoassay analyser. LPS was assayed by agglutination with antibodycoated latex and by competitive inhibition of agglutination of LPS-coated latex by anti-LPS antiserum. The inhibition system was more sensitive for the detection of degradation products of LPS. Correlation between ELISA and agglutination inhibition immunoassay was excellent (r = 0.96). Degradation of LPS occurred during storage, particularly when the samples contained specific antibodies. It could be prevented by removing cells immediately after collecting blood samples and by heating or alkaline denaturation of plasma.

CBA/H mice were infected with various doses [65-(65 x 10) cfu] of biovar 3 cells and the course of infection followed by immunoassay of LPS-related antigens in serum and urine, and by titration of specific antibodies and non-specific circulating immune complexes. The concentration of LPS degradation products, assayed by the agglutination inhibition assay, was related to the severity of the infection, which was assessed by viable counts of in the spleen. A close correlation was observed between the values of antigenaemia, the number of cfu (r = 0.97), and the inoculum size (r = 0.99 at day 28).


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