Pretreatment with the Gram-positive bacterial cell wall molecule peptidoglycan improves bacterial clearance and decreases inflammation and mortality in mice challenged with Pseudomonas aeruginosa.


The objective of this study was to determine if inflammatory tolerance and enhancement of innate immune function could be induced by the Gram-positive cell wall component peptidoglycan (PGN). Male mice (C57BL6/J or C3H/HeJ, 8-12 weeks of age) were given intraperitoneal injections of 1mg PGN on 2 consecutive days. The mice were then challenged with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or live Pseudomonas aeruginosa (1 x 10(8) colony-forming units) 2 days after the second pretreatment. Mice pretreated with PGN had diminished plasma concentrations of TNFalpha and IFNgamma and elevated concentrations of IL-10 in response to a subsequent LPS or Pseudomonas challenge when compared to untreated controls. Bacterial clearance was improved in mice pretreated with PGN, and mortality in response to a subsequent Pseudomonas challenge was significantly attenuated. PGN pretreatment of LPS-unresponsive mice (C3H/HeJ) verified that the effect of PGN pretreatment was not due to any LPS contamination. We have previously demonstrated that PGN pretreatment induced resistance to a Gram-positive bacterial challenge. The present study extends those results by showing that exposure to the Gram-positive bacterial cell wall component peptidoglycan also induces cross-tolerance to LPS and non-specifically enhances innate immune function in that PGN-pretreated mice had increased resistance to Gram-negative bacterial challenge.