Protection from endotoxemia: a rat model of plasmapheresis and specific adsorption with polymyxin B

J Infect Dis. 1987 Apr;155(4):690-5. doi: 10.1093/infdis/155.4.690.


Polymyxin B (PB), a cyclic polypeptide antibiotic, has potent antiendotoxin properties but is associated with significant toxicity when given parenterally. As an alternative, PB was immobilized on a solid phase (Sepharose 4B; Pharmacia, Uppsala, Sweden), and a system of plasmapheresis was developed in the conscious rat, with specific on-line plasma adsorption of endotoxin by a PB-Sepharose column. PB-Sepharose columns removed 94% of a challenge dose of 5 micrograms of endotoxin in vitro. Rats were pretreated with lead acetate so that they were sensitized to endotoxin and then given 10 micrograms of endotoxin/kg intraarterially. After 15 min plasmapheresis was begun and continued for 90 min. Animals whose plasma was perfused over PB-Sepharose were protected from endotoxin-induced leukopenia (P less than .01), thrombocytopenia (P less than .001), and death (four of four survivors compared with none of four controls). Thus plasmapheresis with on-line removal of endotoxin is a safe and highly effective means of protecting animals from the effects of endotoxemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endotoxins / blood*
  • Escherichia coli
  • Leukopenia / etiology
  • Leukopenia / therapy
  • Plasmapheresis*
  • Polymyxin B / therapeutic use*
  • Polymyxins / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Shock, Septic / therapy*
  • Thrombocytopenia / etiology
  • Thrombocytopenia / therapy


  • Endotoxins
  • Polymyxins
  • Polymyxin B