Saturday, January 22, 2022


Endotoxin was first described by Richard Pfeiffer as a heat-stable, cell-associated material isolated from Vibrio cholerae which induced toxic reactions in guinea-pigs.

Endotoxins are components of the outer membrane of nearly all gram-negative bacteria. Their structure has been characterized by a variety of biophysical and analytical techniques.

They fall into the category of lipopolysaccharides because they consist of a polysaccharide chain linked to a lipid moiety referred to as lipid A.

Lipid A represents the hydrophobic component of lipopolysaccharides which locates in the outer leaflet of the outer membrane, while core sugars and O-antigen repeats are displayed on the surface of bacteria. Lipid A is known to be responsible for the toxic effects of infections with Gram-negative bacteria.

Despite being essential for bacterial survival, as they shield the bacterium from cellular host defense strategies, bile acids and hydrophobic antibiotics, lipopolysaccharides play a prominent role in the infected host during severe infections, trauma, and shock.

The inhaled endotoxin has been associated with many pulmonary diseases. Endotoxin has been thought to be responsible for the adverse health effects after inhalation of organic dusts.

Some inhalation studies showed that endotoxin can cause fever, cough, dyspnea, headache, nose and throat irritation, diffuse aches, nausea, shortness of breath & chest tightness, acute air flow obstruction, and airway inflammation.

Endotoxin is widely present in the environment, including dust, animal waste, foods, and other materials generated from, or exposed to, Gram-negative bacterial products.

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