We have been investigating the effects of a synthetic immunostimulative polymer known as copovithane (Cpv). This agent appears to enhance humoral immunity in untreated and cyclosporine-immunosuppressed mice and is nontoxic in rodents and man. The purpose of this study was to determine whether cyclosporine (CsA) is deleterious to survival in a murine cecal ligation, puncture, and excision (CLPE) model of fecal peritonitis, and - if so - whether this effect could be ameliorated by Cpv without interfering with skin allograft acceptance. Cpv significantly prolongs survival in the CLPE model; the optimal dose for this effect was found to be 100 mg/kg. CsA was found to have a significant and deleterious effect on survival at several dosage levels when administered 48 and 24 hr before cecal ligation, and immediately before and 16 hr after cecal ligation. Using a dose of CsA sufficient for skin allograft acceptance and the same schedule of administration outlined above, Cpv 100 mg/kg was administered 48 hr prior to cecal ligation. Mice treated with CsA plus Cpv had significantly longer survival than mice treated with CsA alone; furthermore, the survival of CsA-plus-Cv-treated animals was not significantly different from that of saline-treated controls. Acceptance and survival of H-2 incompatible skin allografts in mice treated with CsA were not affected by Cpv 100 mg/kg/week. We conclude that CsA-induced mortality in the CLPE model can be abrogated by Cpv without adversely affecting skin allograft survival. It may eventually be possible to reduce the incidence of septic complications in clinical allotransplantation by prophylactically administering Cpv to patients on CsA immunosuppression.
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