Platelet Activating Factor contributes to Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin-associated damage [Immunology]

January 29th, 2014 by Rivera, J., Sellers, R. S., Zeng, W., van Rooijen, N., Casadevall, A., Goldman, D. L.

The lethal toxin (LeTx) of B. anthracis plays a central role in the pathogenesis of anthrax-associated shock. Platelet activating factor (PAF) is a potent lipid mediator that has been implicated in endotoxin-associated shock. In this study, we examined the contribution of PAF to the manifestations of lethal toxin challenge in WT mice. LeTx challenge resulted in transient increase in serum PAF levels and a concurrent decrease in PAF acetylhydrolase activity. Inhibition of PAF activity using PAF antagonists or toxin challenge of PAF receptor negative mice reversed or ameliorated many of the pathologic features of LeTx-induced damage, including changes in vascular permeability, hepatic necrosis and cellular apoptosis. In contrast, PAF inhibition had minimal effects on cytokine levels. Findings from these studies support the continued study of PAF-antagonists as potential adjunctive agents in the treatment of anthrax-associated shock.