In previously published studies, we had demonstrated that hydrazine sulfate pretreatment protected mice against the lethal effects of endotoxin and that this protection was accompanied by a sustained increase in hepatic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase activity (Silverstein, R., C.A. Christoffersen, and D.C. Morrison. 1989. Infect. Immun. 57:2072). The same hydrazine sulfate pretreatment has now been found to protect mice against endotoxin in the D-galactosamine model with an increase in the endotoxin LD50 of approximately four orders of magnitude. Elimination of the pretreatment period, or administration of an additional dose of D-galactosamine at the time of hydrazine sulfate pretreatment, renders the mice refractory to the protection. Given the sensitivity of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase regulation to several hormones, we investigated the possibility that protection may have been hormone mediated. In addition to determining the effect of hydrazine sulfate on the plasma levels of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase regulating hormones, we have investigated the effects of hydrazine sulfate on endotoxin lethality in mice whose capacity to respond hormonally to external stimuli has been compromised by hypophysectomy. Our results show a significant enhancement in circulating levels of plasma corticosterone 30 min after hydrazine sulfate injection. Moreover, hypophysectomy results in a marked increase in sensitivity of mice to endotoxin challenge as well as an abrogation of the protection against endotoxin lethality mediated by hydrazine sulfate. Although hydrazine sulfate protection distinguishes between sensitivity brought on, individually, by D-galactosamine and by hypophysectomy, mice sensitized by both hypophysectomy and D-galactosamine are not protected against endotoxin lethality by hydrazine sulfate. We conclude that hydrazine sulfate protection against endotoxin lethality is endocrine dependent, with the available evidence implicating a pituitary/adrenal axis, with glucocorticoid involvement. In as much as D-galactosamine is known to act directly in the liver in disrupting protein synthesis, it is proposed that events in the liver are critical to the hydrazine sulfate-mediated protection against endotoxin and are possibly the target of the endocrine involvement. Hydrazine sulfate pretreatment also protects D-galactosamine-sensitized mice against the lethal effects of injected tumor necrosis factor/cachectin.

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