A highly purified bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) preparation was exposed in water to megadoses of ionizing radiation from a 60Co source. As evidenced by electrophoresis, the radiation treatment progressively degraded the lipopolysaccharide molecules by removing first the O-side chain units and then components of the R-core. Chemical analysis of the irradiated (LPS) preparations showed that, in accord with the structural changes, the most profound effects of ionizing radiation occurred in the hydrophilic oligo/polysaccharide moieties (R-core and O-side chain). Progressively higher doses of radiation degraded the simple sugars in decreasing order of galactose, galactosamine, glucosamine, glucose, and heptose. The R-core component 2-keto-3-deoxyoctonate was the most 'resistant' sugar derivative to ionizing radiation. Due to its central position in the LPS aggregates in water, even at comparatively high doses of radiation the hydrophobic lipid A moiety of endotoxin was less affected than the sugar components. Of the fatty acids of lipid A, however, either partial conversion of β-hydroxymyristic acid into myristic acid or selective loss of the former occurred. The observed structural and chemical changes of LPS are consistent with the effect of active oxygen radicals of radiolysis. In addition, the extensive physicochemical changes explain the altered biological reactivity of radiation-treated endotoxins.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging