Abstract: Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA) induce, overall, similar transcriptional profiles in healthy individuals, although LPS has been shown to more potently induce pro-inflammatory cytokines. We explore herein whether MPLA could be considered as a synthetic replacement of LPS in immune functional assays to study anergy of immune cells in septic patients. Ex vivo whole blood stimulation with MPLA revealed a lower induction of the TNFα secreted protein in 20 septic patients (SP) compared to 10 healthy volunteers (HV), in agreement with monocyte anergy. Principal component analysis of the 93-gene molecular response to MPLA and LPS stimulation found that the main variability was driven by stimulation in HV and by pathophysiology in SP. MPLA was a stronger inducer of the HLA family genes than LPS in both populations, arguing for divergent signalling pathways downstream of TLR-4. In addition, MPLA appeared to present a more informative stratification potential within the septic population.
Keywords: Immune functional assay; LPS; MPLA; Sepsis; Septic patients; Stratification.