Endotoxin Overview
  • Endotoxin is a lipopolysaccharide found in the cell wall of gram-negative bacteria 
    • lipid A, the key toxic component of endotoxin, activates
      • macrophages which causes release of IL-1, TNF, and NO leading to fever and shock
      • complement cascade
        • C3a
        • C5a
      • factor XII which then activates the coagulation cascade leading to DIC
  • Endotoxin is not a protein, but rather a normal component of the cell that fragments off
    • bacterial lysis (e.g. due to antibiotic treatment) causes large release of endotoxin
  • Heat stable
    • can withstand 100°C for 1 hour

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