The use of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed to lipid A for the therapy of gram-negative sepsis is controversial. In an attempt to understand their biologic basis of action, we used a fluid-phase radioimmunoassay to measure binding between bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and two IgM mAbs directed to lipid A that are being evaluated for the treatment of gram-negative bacterial sepsis. Both antibodies bound 3H-LPS prepared from multiple strains of gram-negative bacteria when large excesses of antibody were used, although binding was modest and only slightly greater than control preparations. We also studied the ability of each anti-lipid A antibody to neutralize some of the biological effects of LPS in vitro. Despite large molar excesses, neither antibody neutralized LPS as assessed by the limulus lysate test, by a mitogenic assay for murine splenocytes, or by the production of cytokines interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, or tumor necrosis factor from human monocytes in culture medium or in whole blood. Our experiments do not support the hypothesis that either of these anti-lipid A mAbs function by neutralizing the toxic effects of LPS.

This content is only available as a PDF.