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A new sensitive method for detecting human endogenous (leukocyte) pyrogen

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Endogenous, or leukocyte pyrogen (EP), the mediator of fever, is currently detected by injection of pyrogen-containing supernatants into rabbits. This assay has been of little value in the study of human fever because it required injection of relatively large amounts of pyrogen. We now report that injection of medium containing human EP produces fever in mice. Supernatant from 1 × 105 granulocytes, stimulated by phagocytosis of staphylococci and incubated overnight, or 1 × 104 monocytes similarly treated, produce clear pyrogenic responses. This method for detecting EP is about 100-fold more sensitive than the rabbit assay, and it appears to be specific for EP. Preliminary studies of EP released by small samples of needle liver biopsies from febrile and afebrile patients suggests that this sensitive assay may be useful for investigations into the mechanisms of clinical fever.

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Supported by U.S. Public Health Service Grant No. AI 01564-20 and CA 14655-04

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Bodel, P., Miller, H. A new sensitive method for detecting human endogenous (leukocyte) pyrogen. Inflammation 3, 103–110 (1978).

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  • Public Health
  • Internal Medicine
  • Liver Biopsy
  • Sensitive Assay
  • Needle Liver