Rat ankle joints injected intraarticularly with 5 micrograms of group A streptococcal peptidoglycan-polysaccharide (PG-APS) developed an acute course of arthritis. Recurrence of arthritis was induced in 100% of these joints by intravenous injection of as little as 10 micrograms of Salmonella typhimurium lipopolysaccharide (LPS) 3 wk after intraarticular injection. This reaction was similar in athymic and euthymic rats. Buffalo rats were less susceptible than Lewis or Sprague-Dawley rats. Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Escherichia coli LPS, and S. typhimurium Re mutant LPS, were also active. Re mutant LPS activity was greatly reduced by mixing with polymyxin B. E. coli lipid A was weakly active. An acute synovitis of much less incidence, severity, and duration was seen in contralateral joints injected initially with saline, and in ankle joints of naive, previously uninjected rats after intravenous LPS injection. The intravenous injection of the muramidase mutanolysin on day 0 or 7 after intraarticular PG-APS injection prevented LPS-induced recurrence of arthritis. These studies suggest that the phlogistic activities of lipid A and peptidoglycan might interact in an inflammatory disease process, and that LPS may play a role in recurrent episodes of rheumatoid arthritis or reactive arthritis.

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