Summary: Trehalose dimycolate (TDM) isolated from induced in mice a severely wasted condition known as cachexia. Intraperitoneal injection of mice with five 10 μg doses of TDM in mineral oil at intervals of 2 d killed 90% of the animals within 26 d. Death followed a precipitous weight loss and an inflammatory process in the peritoneal cavity. When mice were injected intraperitoneally with a single 10 μg dose of TDM, 48 h later, they had begun to lose weight and exhibited extreme hypertriglyceridaemia and hypoglycaemia. Tumour necrosis factor (or cachectin) was detected in the plasma from animals injected with TDM. This cytokine released by mononuclear phagocytes may be involved in the induction of cachexia by TDM.


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