Use of limulus assay to compare the biological activity of peptidoglycan and endotoxin

A. Wildfeuer, B. Heymer, D. Spilker, K. H. Schleifer, E. Vanek, O. Haferkamp

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23 Scopus citations


The gelation of a lysate prepared from the amebocytes of Limulus polyphemus, the horseshoe crab, has been used for the detection of endotoxin like material in clinical studies and in vitro experiments. The investigation of blood samples from 54 hospitalized patients suspected of having endotoxemia, revealed a positive limulus test in 14. Infections due to gram positive organisms were not associated with positive assays. These results were in agreement with the observation that living gram positive microorganisms, in contrast to gram negative bacteria, did not initiate lysate gelation when studied in vitro. Only very high concentrations of peptidoglycan, isolated from the cell walls of various gram positive bacteria, induced the reaction. Therefore, these findings support the view, that the limulus test is relatively specific for the detection of gram negative bacterial endotoxin and endotoxemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-264
Number of pages7
JournalZeitschrift fur Immunitatsforschung
Issue number2-4
StatePublished - 1975
Externally publishedYes


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