We have studied the role of complement in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced hypotension and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) by comparing the effects of injection of three preparations of LPS from E. Coli 0111:B4, S. minnesota Re595, and S. marcescens. Injections of nonlethal doses of these LPS preparations into normal rabbits produced decreases in mean arterial blood pressure during a 5-h period. When rabbits treated with cobra venom factor (CoF) to deplete C3 were injected with the various LPS preparations, mean arterial pressures fell at a rate and extent essentially identical to that observed in normal rabbits. Rabbits genetically deficient in C6 also demonstrated LPS-induced hypotensive changes. Only minimal, or no changes in plasma C3 levels or serum CH50 values were detected in normal rabbits after LPS injection. Hypotensive changes were also induced in rabbits when complement was rapidly activated by intravenous injection of CoF. In contrast to the hypotension induced by LPS, the fall in arterial pressure associated with the consumption of complement was short lived and required the rapid consumption of considerable amounts of C3. The occurrence of DIC noted in normal rabbits injected with each preparation of LPS was not inhibited in either rabbits treated with cobra factor or in C6-deficient rabbits. The DIC was most pronounced after injection of Re595 and S. marcescens LPS. Injection of the various LPS preparations produced a rapid disappearance of circulating neutrophils and mononuclear cells, which occurred with the same kinetics and to the same extent in normal, CoF-treated, and C6-deficient rabbits. Injection of either Re595 LPS or S. marcescens LPS produced a biphasic disappearance of circulating 51Cr-platelets. In contrast, injection of 0111:B4 LPS affected only slightly the rate of disappearance of 51Cr-platelets. Depletion of C3 by cobra factor treatment had no effect on the disappearance of platelets in animals injected with 0111:B4. In marked contrast cobra factor treatment greatly reduced the initial rapid disappearance of platelets in rabbits injected with either Re595 or S. marcescens LPS, but had no effect in the secondary disappearance phase.

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