Endotoxins: What You Need to Know





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Published on Jun 15, 2012

Toxins associated with bacteria cause damage directly by destroying tissues or indirectly by triggering an immune response that may be harmful. Endotoxins are a type of bacterial toxin that is located in the cell wall component of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria.

Endotoxins are lipopolysacchride (LPS) complexes. They are heat stable and unlike exotoxins, which are secreted, endotoxins are not secreted and are associated with the cell wall. They can be released when the bacterial cells are disrupted or upon the destruction of the bacterial cell.

All mammals can be affected by endotoxins. Severe reactions including fever, decreased blood pressure, inflammation and coagulation in humans has been associated with exposure to these toxins. The presence of endotoxins in the blood is known as endotoxemia which can lead to septic shock.

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