Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) is a major immunostimulatory principle of Gram-positive bacteria. Intranasal application of LTA from S. aureus to mice resulted in greatly increased neutrophil and macrophage counts in the bronchoalveolar lavage as well as increased levels of the chemokine KC. The potential of highly pure, bioactive LTA from S. aureus to induce neutrophil recruitment and activation was investigated further in the human system. Although neutrophils expressed the key known receptors, CD14, TLR2 and TLR6, LTA did not induce or prime neutrophils for oxidative burst, or release of chemokines, bactericidal permeability-increasing protein or myeloperoxidase. However, LTA induced a strong release of the chemoattractants LTB4, IL-8, C5a, MCP-1 and the colony-stimulating factor G-CSF in whole blood comparable to stimulation with the same concentration of LPS (S. abortus equi). Further, the cytokine and chemoattractant pattern induced by LTA correlated well with that induced by live S. aureus of the same strain. LTA does not appear to activate neutrophils directly, but is a strong stimulus for the recruitment of phagocytes to the site of infection.
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