Mitigation of septic shock in mice and rhesus monkeys by human chorionic gonadotrophin-related oligopeptides


B. A. ‘t Hart, Department of Immunobiology, BPRC, Lange Kleiweg 139, 2288 GJ Rijswijk, the Netherlands.


The marked improvement of several immune-mediated inflammatory diseases during pregnancy has drawn attention to pregnancy hormones as potential therapeutics for such disorders. Low molecular weight fractions derived from the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) have remarkable potent immunosuppressive effects in mouse models of diabetes and septic shock. Based on these data we have designed a set of oligopeptides related to the primary structure of hCG and tested these in models of septic shock in mice and rhesus monkeys. We demonstrate that mice exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and treated subsequently with selected tri-, tetra-, penta- and hepta-meric oligopeptides (i.e. MTR, VVC, MTRV, LQGV, AQGV, VLPALP, VLPALPQ) are protected against fatal LPS-induced septic shock. Moreover, administration of a cocktail of three selected oligopeptides (LQGV, AQGV and VLPALP) improved the pathological features markedly and nearly improved haemodynamic parameters associated with intravenous Escherichia coli-induced septic shock in rhesus monkeys. These data indicate that the designed hCG-related oligopeptides may present a potential treatment for the initial hyperdynamic phase of septic shock in humans.