The role of catecholamines in gram-negative sepsis

Med Hypotheses. 1992 Apr;37(4):255-8. doi: 10.1016/0306-9877(92)90197-k.


Recently obtained in vitro evidence has demonstrated that neurochemicals such as the catecholamines can dramatically increase the growth of Gram-negative bacteria. Depending on the catecholamine, an up to 100,000-fold increase in the in vitro growth rate of pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Yersinia enterocolitica can be observed. Dramatic elevations in the levels of plasma catecholamines have been amply demonstrated to occur as part of the neurophysiological response to infection. It is proposed that the ability of pathogenic bacteria to utilize the host's neurophysiological response to infection to modulate its own growth may govern the eventual clinical outcome of the infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteremia / etiology
  • Catecholamines / adverse effects
  • Catecholamines / metabolism*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / growth & development
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / etiology*
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Shock, Septic / etiology


  • Catecholamines