Physiology pp 115-143 | Cite as

RES Control of Endotoxemia

  • Henry Gans


The classic definition of endotoxin is a material that is freed from the cell wall upon death of gram-negative microorganisms,* in contrast to exotoxins, which are toxins produced and excreted by certain bacteria. Presently, endotoxins, a term used interchangeably with lipopolysaccharides (LPS), are regarded as the cell wall components derived from the gram-negative bacteria, obtained by various extraction procedures. Hence, when working with endotoxins, the manner in which the material is obtained should be specified. Their chemical composition consists mainly of lipoproteins and polysaccharides with minor impurities, predominantly proteins and nucleic acids. The LPS-protein† complexes thus obtained vary considerably in size. This is reflected in differences in molecular weight which can range from one-half to several million daltons (Beer et al., 1966). Relatively heat stable, they are destroyed only upon prolonged heating at temperatures above 100°C. Different LPS preparations vary in toxicity; however, many effects are similar to and to a degree interchangeable and independent of the source of the organism. Thus, certain endotoxin-related phenomena, as for instance the Shwartzman‡ phenomenon which relies upon two temporally spaced endotoxin injections, a challenging and a provocative dose, can be elicited with endotoxins derived from different gram-negative bacteria.


Kupffer Cell Platelet Factor Bacterial Endotoxin Endotoxin Shock Fibrin Monomer 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Gans
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Surgical, Research, and Pathology ServicesDanville Veterans Administration Medical CenterUSA
  2. 2.University of Illinois School of Basic Medical Science and Clinical MedicineUSA
  3. 3.Division of Nutritional Sciences, College of AgricultureUniversity of Illinois at UrbanaUrbanaUSA

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