Presentation of lipoteichoic acid potentiates its inflammatory activity

Susanne Deininger, Stephanie Traub, Diana Aichele, Tamara Rupp, Teodora Baris, Heiko M. Möller, Thomas Hartung, Sonja von Aulock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) is a major immunostimulatory molecule in the cell wall of Gram-positive bacteria. Adhesion of LTA to a polystyrene surface drastically increased its immunostimulatory potency in human whole blood in comparison to soluble LTA, although only 1% of the LTA had bound, as determined using rhodamine-labelled LTA. The release of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β, TNF and IL-6 and the chemokines IL-8 and G-CSF was increased 2- to 10-fold, but IL-10 release was unaltered. This presentation effect was not shared by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or other toll-like receptor 2 agonists and was less pronounced in polypropylene vessels. LTA did not induce cytokine release in silicone-coated borosilicate vessels, but covalent coupling of LTA to polystyrene beads restored cytokine induction in these vessels, indicating that presentation of LTA on a surface is in fact essential for its immunostimulatory potency. This novel aspect of presentation as a factor in the recognition of LTA may reflect the physiological situation in the bacterial cell wall, where LTA is anchored in the bacterial membrane and projects through the peptidoglycan. In practical terms, contamination of medical devices with components of Gram-positive bacteria may pose an underestimated inflammatory risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-529
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 10 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacteria
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation
  • Lipoteichoic acid
  • Potency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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