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Jpn J Surg. 1990 Sep;20(5):559-66.

A new method for the quantification of beta-glucan in plasma and its application in the diagnosis of postoperative infection.

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Second Department of Surgery, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.


In order to correctly diagnose and treat severe postoperative infections, it may be critical to detect and differentiate between endotoxin derived from Gram-negative bacteria and/or beta-glucan derived from fungi. In addition to the chromogenic assay, the turbidimetric kinetic assay has been performed for the quantification of endotoxin in plasma using Limulus amebocyte lysate as previously reported. However, it is also known that beta-glucan triggers the coagulation of Limulus amebocyte lysate. In the present study, the differentiation of beta-glucan from endotoxin and its clinical application were studied. Endotoxin was able to be inactivated in plasma using one-tenth dilution by 10 per cent ethanol or distilled water, followed by heating at 100 degrees C for 120 min, without affecting the activity of coexisting beta-glucan. The treated sample was then subjected to the turbidimetric kinetic assay using Toxinometer ET-201. Using this method, as little as 30 pg/ml of beta-glucan in the plasma may be assayed separately, with the amount of circulating beta-glucan in the plasma of normal subjects being less than 50 pg/ml. On the other hand, in patients with a fungal infection, the amount of beta-glucan in their plasma was elevated significantly. Clinically, beta-glucanemia may often occur in severe postoperative infection even if fungi are not detected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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