Short Time Exposure to Lipopolysaccharide Is Sufficient to Activate Human Monocytes

Philippe Gallay, C. Victor Jongeneel, Catherine Barras, Michel Burnier, Jean Daniel Baumgartner, Michel Pierre Glauser, Didier Heumann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Very little is known about early events in LPS binding and about the duration of LPS exposure required to activate monocytes. In the present study, we have investigated the kinetics of LPS binding to human monocytes and the time of exposure required to trigger the synthesis of TNF-α. We directly followed the binding of FITC-labeled LPS to monocytes by flow cytometry or confocal laser microscopy. LPS was able to bind to the cell surface within 1 min of exposure, and was internalized within 5 min. Equilibrium was reached within 15 min at all but the lowest LPS concentration tested (10 ng/ml). Binding was dependent on the presence of LPS-binding protein, supplied either as a plasma component or in purified form, and inhibited by an anti-CD14 mAb (MY4). Polymyxin B, an inhibitor of LPS-mediated activation, essentially abrogated the LPS-binding protein- and CD14-dependent binding of LPS to monocytes. Using either the anti-CD14 mAb or polymyxin B to block further LPS binding, we found that 5 to 10 min of exposure was sufficient to trigger maximal TNF-α release. Similarly, monocytes washed after 5 to 15 min exposure to eliminate LPS also produced high levels of TNF-α transcripts without further presence of LPS in the medium. We conclude that a few minutes of exposure to physiologically relevant concentrations of LPS are sufficient to trigger both maximal binding and activation of monocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5086-5093
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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