Submitted by Jim K on Wed, 2006-02-08 12:15

Bacterial Endotoxin reactions, Cytokine (immune) reactions and inflammation

These are often casually. but inaccurately, referred to as “herx” reactions, or scientifically as “herxheimer-like” alluding to the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction to bacterial toxins specifically from syphilis. All gram-negative bacteria, of which Cpn is one, have contain Lipopolysaccharide endotoxins as well as HSP's (heat shock proteins) which are released as a matter of course during infection and are in part responsible for the on-going symptoms of the infection.

When these bacterial are killed en masse during treatment, they release relatively large amounts of endotoxin, causing significant symptoms especially during initial phases of treatment, as well as when an additional antibiotic agent is added to the protocol. If the amount of endotoxin exceeds the body's ability to get rid of it, these toxic effects can be life threatening. But even in less threatening amounts, the endotoxins and the resulting reactions can cause oxidative stress and damage to body organs.

Wheldon believes the immediate reactions, characterized by shivering, influenzal symptoms and general malaise, are indicative of the endotoxin itself. Dorlands Medical Dictionary adds that the condition is a short term immunological reaction which causes fever, chills, muscle pain, headaches, and skin lesions.

Dr. Powell identifies chronic signals of endotoxin in constantly feeling cold especially in extremities or body core, feeling that you can't warm up, etc.

The recommended supplements are crucial to help the body counter endotoxin reactions, and the oxidative damage they can cause body tissues and organs. 

Cytokine reaction (immune response)-

The endotoxin stimulates a powerful cytokine reaction by the immune system, which activates macrophages and brings with it inflammation. Next the compliment cascade, and release of histamine and more inflammation. Next the coagulation cascade and more inflammation, along with lowered blood pressure. It is likely that widespread muscle, joint and connective tissue pain, dis-coordination, deep fatigue, brain fog, bowel and other organ distress, nausea, are an indication of the endotoxin-cytokine cascade when abx treatment is initiated.

"LPS is an incredibly potent initiator of immune really don't need much to cause a lot of harm... We know that once the endotoxin signaling process has begun, the damage done by endotoxin is actually damage done by the immune system. Cytokines released in high concentrations produce overwhelming amounts of ROS and RNS, leading to free radical production and catastrophic tissue damage. Equally overwhelming amounts of antioxidants are required in sustained concentrations to both prevent and combat this..."

The main signal of cytokine reaction is inflammation: pain, swelling, brain fog, pain, pain, pain.

As noted, the supplements are crucial here as well for preventing the damage of our runaway immune system. Some patients may require anti-inflammatory medications to manage these cytokine cascades.


*Thanks to Ron for the phrase, "That "Kissed by a Dementor" kind of feeling."