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The effects of five distinct bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) on the induction of polyclonal IgM and IgG antibodies, including polyclonal autoantibody formation, were investigated in several strains of mice. Injections of most LPS preparations that contained polysaccharide transiently induced only IgM polyclonal antibodies. However, LPS from Salmonella minnesota R595 (R595 LPS), which had a particularly high content of lipid A but lacked O-antigen polysaccharide, induced a markedly prolonged IgM and IgG polyclonal antibody response in mice, including athymic nude mice, but not in LPS-unresponsive C3H/HeJ mice. Polyclonal IgM and IgG production peaked in sera on day 8 and day 15, respectively, and remained higher than control values 2 mo after the injection. The IgG induced by R595 LPS was strictly restricted to IgG2b and Igg3 subclasses in normal mice. In contrast, in athymic nude mice which have normally lower levels of IgG1 and IgG2a than normal mice, R595 LPS stimulated the production of all the IgG subclasses and reconstituted serum levels of IgG1 and IgG2a up to, but not higher than, control values of normal mice. These findings suggest that different mechanisms regulate production of each IgG subclass after stimulation with LPS.