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Infection. 1986 Mar-Apr;14(2):79-81.

Comparison of the binding of gram-negative bacterial endotoxin by polymyxin B sulphate, colistin sulphate and colistin sulphomethate sodium.


Polymyxins are cyclic polypeptide antibiotics. In addition to their bactericidal activity they bind lipid A and neutralize the biological effects of bacterial endotoxin. We have studied the three available polymyxin preparations: polymyxin B sulphate (PB), colistin sulphate (CS) and colistin sulphomethate sodium (CMS), and compared their endotoxin binding capacity at equivalent therapeutic dosage. Each polymyxin was bound to a column of Sepharose 4B and challenged with 5 micrograms of endotoxin from Escherichia coli O127:B8. Recovery of endotoxin in the eluate was measured by a quantitative Limulus lysate microassay. PB and CS bound 94% of the challenge dose, CMS 89% and the control column (Sepharose alone) 24%. These results suggest that parenteral CMS (the least toxic polymyxin) retains useful anti-endotoxin capacity, and that in neutropenic patients, oral polymyxin may exert both anti-endotoxin and antimicrobial effects.

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