Fig. 9: Physiologic Action of Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)
from the Gram-Negative Cell Wall

The lysis of gram-negative bacteria causes them to release lipopolysaccharide (LPS; endotoxin) from the outer membrane of their cell wall. The LPS binds to a LPS-binding protein circulating in the blood and this complex, in turn, binds to a receptor molecule (CD14) found on the surface of body defense cells called macrophages. This is thought to promote the ability of the toll-like receptor TLR-4 to respond to the LPS, triggering the macrophage to release various defense regulatory chemicals called cytokines, including IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-alpha, and PAF. The cytokines then bind to cytokine receptors on target cells and initiate inflammation and activate both the complement pathways and the coagulation pathway. (LPS, lipopolysaccharide; IL-1, interleukin-1; IL-6, interleukin-6; IL-8, interleukin-8, TNF-alpha, tumor necrosis factor-alpha; PAF, platelet-activating factor.) This will be discussed in greater detail under Bacterial Pathogenicity.

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