SUMMARY: Chemically modified lipopolysaccharides of were tested for mitogenicity on mouse spleen cells as well as antagonism of the mitogenicity of intact lipopolysaccharide (LPS). All the lipopolysaccharide preparations deacylated by different alkaline treatments suffered a drastic loss of mitogenicity. The mitogenic activity of lipid A was also lost when succinic residues were introduced on hydroxyl groups. Partially deacylated alkaline-treated preparations (but not completely deacylated preparations) inhibited the activation of splenic B-cells by LPS. They were found to be toxic to spleen cells, however, and to suppress not only the mitogenicity of LPS but that of concanavalin A as well. This inhibitory action was not exhibited when all of the fatty acid was eliminated. Succinylated lipid A, on the other hand, was not toxic to the cells and inhibited the B-cell mitogenicity of lipopolysaccharide (but not the T-cell mitogenicity of concanavalin A). Chemical analysis revealed that about 4.6 mol of succinic acid had been introduced into lipid A by succinylation, and that the fatty acid and phosphate composition was unchanged by this treatment. Macrophages do not seem to participate in this inhibition. Inhibition was observed when succinylated lipid A was added either at the same time or after lipid A mitogen, but optimal inhibition was expressed when it was added to the culture 3 h before LPS. Inhibition was not affected by washing the cells before adding LPS. Inhibition increased as the ratio of suppressor to mitogen increased, suggesting that the succinylated lipid A competes with intact LPS.


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