Bacterial Endotoxins Term Paper by Nicky

Bacterial Endotoxins
An explanation of the dangers of bacterial endotoxins.
# 146744 | 827 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Jan 14, 2011 in Chemistry (Biochemistry) , Chemistry (General)

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This paper discusses bacterial endotoxins, explaining what endotoxins are, where they can be found and the potential harm they can cause. It provides a detailed description of their structure and includes information from studies that have reported on occupational health hazards among some workers.

Endotoxin structure and Mechanism of Action
Occupational Exposure

From the Paper:

''The LPS contains a polysaccharide and a lipid Moitey that is commonly known as Lipid A. The Lipid A consists of phosphorylated N-acetylglucosamine (NAG) with 5 or 6 saturated fatty acids. The structure of the Lipid A component is preserved in all species of gram-negative bacteria. It is found that the virulence and of the endotoxins vary vastly based on the changes in the arrangement of the polysaccharides (changes in the oligosaccharide subunits.). The variations in these polysaccharide chains also result in a variety of antigenic types. Therefore, even though humans produce antibodies, they are only restricted to the particular polysaccharide chain, leaving them unprotected to a wide variety of endotoxins. The mechanism of action of endotoxins in humans is complex. The LPS binds to the LBP (lipid binding protein) in the serum, which transfers it to the CD14, which further transfers it to the MD2 protein and finally the Toll Like receptor 4 (TLR4). This association with TLR4 triggers the inflammatory response by the secretion of cytokines and nitrous oxide that further result in the secretion of prostaglandins and leukotrienes. This is followed by the activation of the coagulation cascade resulting in the person experiencing inflammation, intravascular coagulation, hemorrhage and shock. [Kenneth Todar]
''Tests for endotoxins are done to ascertain the concentration of endotoxins in the samples. The Limulus Amebocyte Lysate test is one of the standard tests for endotoxins. It was observed that Limulus polyphemus, the horseshoe crab, developed intravascular coagulation upon infection by gram-negative bacteria. Later it was discovered by researchers Levin and Bang that this reaction was triggered by the activation of several enzymes located in the blood cells (amebocytes) of the crab by the endotoxins in the gram-negative bacteria. Since then, this test using the LAL reagent extracted from the crab, is found to be the most accurate and sensitive test for endotoxins. Modifications and variations such as the gel clot technique; turbidimetric assay and the chromogenic assays are available.''

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Eliot Epstein, PhD, 'Fact Sheet : Endotoxins', Accessed 26th Mar 2009, Available at,
  • NRDC, 'New Orleans Environmental Quality Test Results', Accessed 26th Mar 2009, Available at,
  • Smit LA, Spaan S, Heederik D. (2005) Endotoxin exposure and symptoms in wastewater treatment workers. Am J Ind Med 48:30-9
  • ACC, 'Limulus Amebocyte Lysate-LAL for the detection and Quantitation of Gram negative Bacterial Endotoxins',
  • Kenneth Todar, PhD, ' Online Textbook of Bacteriology: Bacterial Endotoxin', 2008, Available at,

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Bacterial Endotoxins (2011, January 14) Retrieved October 22, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Bacterial Endotoxins" 14 January 2011. Web. 22 October. 2020. <>