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endotoxin

Pronunciation: en-do-tok'sin

Definition:

  1. A bacterial toxin not freely liberated into the surrounding medium, in contrast to exotoxin.
  2. The complex phospholipid-polysaccharide macromolecules that form an integral part of the outer membrane of a variety of relatively avirulent as well as virulent strains of gram-negative bacteria. The toxins are relatively heat stable, are less potent than most exotoxins, are less specific, and do not form toxoids; on injection, they may cause a state of shock and, in smaller doses, fever and leukopenia followed by leukocytosis; they have the capacity of eliciting the Shwartzman and the Sanarelli-Shwartzman phenomena.

Synonym(s): intracellular toxin

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© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.
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