Failure To detect muramic acid in normal rat tissues but detection in cerebrospinal fluids from patients with Pneumococcal meningitis.

Muramic acid serves as a marker for the presence of bacterial cell wall debris in mammalian tissues. There have been a number of controversial and sometimes conflicting results on assessing the levels of muramic acid in health and disease. The present report is the first to use the state-of-the art technique, gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, to identify and quantify the levels of muramic acid in tissues. Muramic acid was not found in normal rat brain or spleen. However, when tissues were spiked with muramic acid, it was readily identified. The detection limit was <1 ng of muramic acid/100 mg (wet weight) of tissue. The levels of muramic acid reported in diseased human spleen and spleen of arthritic rats, previously injected with bacterial cell walls, were 100- to 1,000-fold higher. In the present study, muramic acid was also readily detected in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with pneumococcal meningitis (6.8 to 3,900 ng of muramic acid/ml of cerebrospinal fluid). In summary, there can be an enormous difference in the levels of muramic acid found in different mammalian tissues and body fluids in health and disease. This report could have great impact in future studies assessing the role of bacterial cell wall remnants in the pathogenesis of certain human inflammatory diseases.
AuthorsM P Kozar, M T Krahmer, A Fox, B M Gray
JournalInfection and immunity (Infect Immun) Vol. 68 Issue 8 Pg. 4688-98 (Aug 2000) ISSN: 0019-9567 [Print] UNITED STATES
PMID10899874 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.)
Chemical References
  • Muramic Acids
  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (methods)
  • Humans
  • Meningitis, Pneumococcal (cerebrospinal fluid)
  • Muramic Acids (analysis)
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spleen (chemistry)

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