SUMMARY: Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), glycolipoprotein (GLP) and lipid extract were prepared from serovar . GLP, lipid extract or purified fatty acids from lipid extract produced cytotoxic effects seen as cell enzyme leakage followed by cytotoxic death when tested in mouse fibroblast L929 cells in tissue culture. All extracts also agglutinated mouse crythrocytes but purified LPS was not cytotoxic. Neither GLP nor LPS were pyrogenic but both gelled amoebocyte lysate. Specific anti-GLP IgG neutralized the cytotoxic and haemagglutinating effect of GLP; however, at higher concentrations it enhanced the cytotoxicity of GLP and mediated lysis of the erythrocytes. A high dose of leptospires (i.e. 10 organisms) killed weanling mice causing pathological changes similar to those seen in acute leptospirosis. Similar results were obtained with live, dead, pathogenic and saprophytic leptospires. The results suggest that toxicity is involved in leptospiral infection and that lipid components either of whole leptospires or of a leptospiral GLP may contribute to the pathogenesis of acute leptospirosis.


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