The basis of the biologic responses of C3H/HeJ mice to endotoxin administration in relation to the structural linkages in the lipid A portion of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli were investigated. P. aeruginosa LPS was found to be immunogenic, mitogenic, and toxic, but not lethal, in C3H/HeJ mice. The observed mitogenicity in spleen cells was directed toward immunoglobulin- (Ig) bearing cells, was present in response to isolated and solubilized lipid A, and was inhibitable by polymixin B. The P. aeruginosa LPS was chemically analyzed in order to define its composition and exclude the presence of contaminating proteins being responsible for the biologic responses of C3H/HeJ mice that were observed. Structural analysis of the linkages of the fatty acids to the glucosamine backbone in the lipid A of P. aeruginosa and E. coli revealed similarities in terms of the ratio of hydroxy fatty acids to straight chain fatty acids and the way in which these 2 types of fatty acids were linked to the backbone. Differences were seen in the carbon chain length of the fatty acid substituents, and the substituent on the hydroxy fatty acid that is directly ester linked to the glucosamine backbone. These data indicate that the refractivity of C3H/HeJ mice to the biologic effects after the administration of Gram-negative endotoxins may be limited to enterobacterial LPS. Those differences we found in the chain length and/or linkages of the fatty acid substituents in the lipid A portion of the LPS between P. aeruginosa and E. coli may be sufficient to render C3H/HeJ mice responsive to the biologic effects of nonenterobacterial endotoxins.

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