Sodium polyanethole sulfonate as an inhibitor of activation of complement function in blood culture systems

Yaseelan Palarasah, Mikkel-Ole Skjoedt, Lars Vitved, Thomas Emil Andersen, Karsten Skjødt, Claus Koch

34 Citations (Scopus)


Sodium polyanethole sulfonate (SPS; trade name, Liquoid) is a constituent in culture media used to grow bacteria from blood samples from patients suspected of bacteremia. SPS prevents the killing of bacteria by innate cellular and humoral factors. We analyzed the effect of SPS on the three complement activation pathways: the classical, alternative, and lectin pathways, respectively. Inhibition of complement activity by SPS is caused by a blocking of complement activation and is not a result of complement consumption. The classical pathway is inhibited at SPS concentrations greater than 0.1 mg/ml, and complete inhibition is seen at 0.4 mg/ml. An SPS concentration of 0.5 mg/ml completely inhibits the binding of C1q and subsequent incorporation of C3, C4, and C9. The same was observed for the alternative pathway with an inhibition at SPS concentrations from 0.1 mg/ml and a complete inhibition from 0.4 mg/ml. Here, properdin binding was completely absent, and no incorporation of C3 and C9 was observed. In contrast, the lectin complement pathway remains unaffected at these SPS concentrations, and inhibition is first observed from 0.7 mg/ml. A complete inhibition required concentrations greater than 1 mg/ml. SPS is used in growth media (e.g., BACTEC and BacT/Alert) at concentrations from 0.3 to 0.5 mg/ml. The well-known finding that certain bacteria are growth inhibited by blood factors could therefore be a consequence of the lectin pathway, which is not inhibited at these concentrations. In addition, our findings also open up the possibility of a new assay for the assessment of the functional capacity of the lectin complement pathway.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)908-14
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • Bacteria
  • Bacteriological Techniques
  • Blood
  • Complement Activation
  • Complement System Proteins
  • Culture Media
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Polyanetholesulfonate
  • Journal Article


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