Background: Superantigens are suspected to be the potent and lethal pathogens of gram-positive sepsis, and a new therapy that targeted to superantigens are required. Methods: A mixed infection model was developed in rabbits by the cecal ligation and puncture associated with the intraperitoneal injection of Staphylococcus aureus, which produces toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1). Animals were also hemoperfused with a superantigen-adsorbing device (SAAD), or a control column. Results: The model animals revealed multiple organ failure and died 6–12 h after the injection of S. aureus. The plasma levels of TSST-1, but not of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), significantly (p < 0.01) and inversely correlated with mean arterial pressure (r = -0.63). Plasma TSST-1 level was significantly reduced and shock-onset time was significantly retarded in the SAAD treated group, although the survival time was not significantly affected. Conclusions: The animal model developed could serve as a model for sepsis. It is suggested that there is the potential application of SAAD in treating superantigen-related sepsis.

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