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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The cellular Toll-like receptor 4 antagonist E5531 can act as an agonist in horse whole blood.

Sepsis and endotoxaemia are important causes of morbidity and mortality in humans. Research on sepsis focuses on rodent models most of which are poorly responsive to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and thus do not mimic very well the high sensitivity of humans. Therefore, there is a need to develop more clinically relevant models. Horses suffer from a similar endotoxaemic syndrome to humans with high morbidity and mortality. LPS analogues that act as antagonists at Toll-like receptor 4 ( TLR4) are being developed as novel treatments for endotoxaemia. Due to differences in recognition of ligands by TLR4 from different mammalian species, individual LPS molecules may act as agonists in some species and antagonists in others. The synthetic lipid A analogue E5531 is an antagonist at TLR4 in humans and mice, but its effects at TLR4 from other species are unknown. In the studies reported here, Escherichia coli LPS is a full agonist on equine bone marrow macrophage-like cells and its effects are antagonised by E5531. Similarly, E. coli LPS is an agonist and E5531 an antagonist on monocytes isolated from peripheral blood of healthy horses and human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells, transiently transfected to express horse TLR4 and its associated cell surface proteins MD2 and CD14. In contrast, both E. coli LPS and E5531 behave as agonists in horse whole blood by inducing production of equivalent amounts of the inflammatory mediator prostaglandin. This finding suggests that modification of E5531 may occur in whole blood, for example, deacylation, which alters its activity. This comparative study has revealed a novel pharmacological action of E5531 and emphasises the importance of extending studies of this nature beyond the normal rodent models.[1]


  1. The cellular Toll-like receptor 4 antagonist E5531 can act as an agonist in horse whole blood. Bryant, C.E., Ouellette, A., Lohmann, K., Vandenplas, M., Moore, J.N., Maskell, D.J., Farnfield, B.A. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol. (2007) [Pubmed]
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