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Endotoxins in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with African sleeping sickness

  • V. W. Pentreath (a1), R. A. Alafiatayo (a1), B. Crawley (a2), F. Doua (a3) and E. A. Oppenheim (a2)...


Endotoxin levels were measured in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of control individuals and 2 groups of patients with African sleeping sickness. Endotoxin levels were markedly elevated in the blood (infected groups mean endotoxin values 40·2 pg/ml and 53·8 pg/ml, compared to control 11·6 pg/ml, P < 0·0001 for both increases) and CSF (infected groups mean endotoxin values 45·8 pg/ml and 50·1 pg/ml compared to control 6·3 pg/ml, P < 0·0001 for both increases) of the patients. The levels were reduced 6 weeks following different drug treatments in the 2 groups (blood levels to mean 33·8·pg/ml and 28·5 pg/ml; CSF levels to 37·4 pg/ml and 27·0 pg/ml). The blood endotoxin values correlated with the CSF values before treatment (r = 0·74 and 0·57 for the 2 groups; P < 0·0001 for both) and after treatment (r = 0·57 and 0·56 for the 2 groups; P < 0·0001 for both). It is concluded that raised endotoxin equilibrates in the blood and CSF compartments, and may contribute significantly to the pathology of sleeping sickness.



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