Endotoxin Lipopolysaccharide

Chris Galanos, Max-Planck Institute for Immunology, Freiburg, Germany

It is more than 100 years ago since it was recognized that the pathophysiological activities manifested during gram-negative infections are caused by components of the bacterial surface. Different observations at that time led to the recognition that the toxic principle present in the bacteria was a firmly bound thermostable substance that was released after death and lysis of the bacterial cells. Hence the designation endotoxin in order to distinguish it from the heat-labile exotoxins which are released from live bacteria. The term endotoxin was first introduced at the beginning of rhe twentieth century, most probably by Richard Pfeiffer, a pupil of Robert Koch,

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