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J Lab Clin Med. 1990 Aug;116(2):153-61.

Optimization of detection of bacterial endotoxin in plasma with the Limulus test.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California School of Medicine.


Detection and quantification of bacterial endotoxin in plasma by the Limulus amebocyte lysate test (or other assays for endotoxins) is hindered by the presence of inhibitors. Treatment of plasma to overcome inhibitory activities is required before plasma can be successfully assayed for endotoxin. We have conducted an investigation comparing the three most commonly used procedures (dilution-heating, trifluoroacetic acid oxidation, and chloroform extraction) for treatment of plasma before its assay for endotoxin with the chromogenic Limulus test. Initially, conditions were optimized for treatment of plasma by each of these methods. Subsequently, a direct comparison of the three plasma treatment procedures was performed with plasma spiked with known concentrations of endotoxin. The optimized dilution-heating procedure resulted in the most sensitive detection of endotoxin, with sensitivity approximately 10 times greater than the optimized trifluoroacetic acid oxidation procedure and approximately 100 times greater than treatment of plasma by chloroform extraction. Maximal detection of low concentrations of endotoxin by the chromogenic Limulus test was obtained by dilution of plasma fourfold with 0.15 mol/L NaCl followed by heating at 60 degrees C for 30 minutes. This procedure was simple, rapid, and did not involve addition of any reagents to plasma that could potentially add contaminating endotoxin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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