SUMMARY: Peptidoglycan (PG) has been isolated from some species of spirochaetes, including Although leptospiral PG has been chemically characterized, no study has been carried out on its potential biological activity. Since PG of and is biologically active both and we investigated the capacity of a leptospiral PG preparation to induce relevant biological effects. PG extracted from strain Teramo was mitogenic at 0.1 μg ml for human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) since it increased the PBMC fraction positive for Ki-67, an antigen expressed by human proliferating cells; at 4 μg ml, PG was able to induce complement consumption and to stimulate leucocyte phagocytosis and the metabolic burst of resting as well as phagocytosing leucocytes. These findings indicate that PG may play a role in modulating the immunocompetent cell functions and suggest that PG can contribute to the host response during infection.


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