ABSTRACT: The rabbit pyrogen test and Limulus amoebocyte lysate (LAL) assay have been used to detect endotoxins in vaccines, but interactions between the endotoxins and proteins or aluminum hydroxide can interfere with the results. Currently, the rabbit pyrogen test is used to detect endotoxin in hepatitis B (HB) vaccines even though the HB surface protein, the active ingredient, is over-expressed in and purified from eukaryotic cells which lack endotoxin. Therefore, we examined the possibility of replacing the animal tests with the more efficient LAL test. To this end, we determined whether the aluminum hydroxide in the HB vaccines affects the rabbit pyrogen test and the LAL assay. HB vaccines and HB protein solutions spiked with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) produced almost the same dose-dependent temperature rise in rabbits, indicating that the aluminum hydroxide in the HB vaccine does not interfere with the pyrogenic response in rabbit. In contrast, a spike recovery study showed that aluminum hydroxide interfered with the LAL clot and kinetic assays; however, the LAL clot assay was effective at detecting endotoxin without loss of LAL activity after serial dilution of the samples. Furthermore, there was good correlation in the LAL clot assay between the amount of LPS added and the amount recovered. However, both turbidimetric and chromogenic kinetic assays displayed no correlation between the LPS amount added and recovered. Our results suggest that the LAL clot assay is sensitive and reliable when samples are properly prepared, and can be used to replace the rabbit pyrogen test for the detection of endotoxin in HB vaccines.
Biologicals 10/2005; 33(3):145-51. · 1.70 Impact Factor