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In vitro and in vivo studies of toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 and tampon associated fibers

Molly Pickett, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The involvement of tampons in development of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) was investigated in three stages. First, toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) was isolated from a known TSST-1 producing strain of Staphylococcus aureus. Iodinated toxin was identified by reaction with specific anti-TSST-1 antibody and resolution of the antibody-adsorbed protein by SDS-PAGE and autoradiography. Additional toxin was purified by ion exchange chromatography on CM sephadex C25 or Rexyn 102 cation exchange resins followed by molecular exclusion chromatography. Each method yielded a purified toxin with a characteristic molecular weight of 22,000 daltons and a pI of 7.0. Purified TSST-1 was used to produce specific antiserum in a goat. Resulting immune IgG was used as a ligand for affinity purification of toxin. Secondly, production of TSST-1 in the presence of tampon fibers and magnesium (Mg$\sp{++}$) was studied in vitro. Polyester foam (PEF, Rely tampon) and polyacrylate rayon (PAR), two fibers more frequently associated with TSS stimulated TSST-1 production while cotton and rayon did not. The influence of Mg$\sp{++}$ appears to be different on PEF and PAR, PAR chelated Mg$\sp{++}$ from aqueous solutions and brain heart infusion broth (BHI) while PEF did not. Addition of Mg$\sp{++}$ had a direct effect on toxin production in the presence of PAR and had a modulating effect in PEF/BHI cultures. Lack of aeration decreased the amount of toxin produced in the presence of PEF but had no effect on toxin produced with PAR or cotton. Finally, intravaginal inoculation of guinea pigs with TSS associated strain MN-8 and PEF or cotton induced comparable levels of TSST-1 production in contrast to in vitro. Only the animals that had been implanted with PEF developed a serum antibody response to TSST-1 as measured by RIA and confirmed by immunoblot. This indicates a fiber specific enhancement of the humoral response and may have implications as to the effect of certain fibers on the development of toxic shock syndrome.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Pickett, Molly, "In vitro and in vivo studies of toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 and tampon associated fibers" (1987). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8805962.