Silkworm larvae plasma (SLP) reagent is activated by peptidoglycan (PG), a fragment of both the gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial cell wall, as well as β-glucan (BG), a component of fungi. It is possible to measure contamination of gram-positive bacteria quantitatively by combining the conventional limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) and PG measurement methods. Therefore, a more highly accurate analysis of dialysate can be made using both SLP and LAL methods to detect endotoxin (ET) and/or PG contamination. We studied the effects of contaminated dialysate on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) by producing various cytokines in vitro. Muramyl dipeptide (MDP) was used as the biologically active minimum constituent of PG. A total of 54 dialysate samples were obtained under sterile conditions from 4 sites: (1) reverse osmosis water unit; (2) proportioning unit; (3) multiple dialysate preparation console, and (4) personal dialysate preparation console, at 9 dialysis facilities. To detect bacterial contamination, the samples were measured with LAL(C), LAL(G) and SLP methods. PBMC were collected from 10 healthy controls and from 10 hemodialysis patients and cultured for 24 h with ET, MDP, ET + MDP and contaminated dialysate. IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-IRa), IL-lβ and TNF-α in the culture medium supernatants were measured using the ELISA method. PG was not detected in dialysate from sites 1 or 2. However, dialysate from the inlet of the dialyzer at the bedside monitor of the central supply and personal console showed 4.1 ± 6.1 ng/ml for site 3 (in 7 of 18 samples) and 3.3 ± 4.6 ng/ml for site 4 (in 3 of 18 samples). Contamination by PG alone and complex contamination by PG and ET were also detected. Furthermore, IL-IRa, IL-lβ and TNF-α production by PBMC increased in accordance with the concentrations of MDP. Cytokine production was enhanced 5-10 times more where MDP and ET coexisted than where either MDP or ET existed alone, showing the synergic effects of MDP and ET. Based on these results, there is a high possibility that PG may also be a pyrogen in the dialysate prior to this study. ET had been considered the only pyrogen in dialysate. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the existence of both ET and PG in investigating dialysate contamination.

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