Endotoxin level measurement in hemodialysis biofilm using the whole blood assay


Biofilms have been found on the inner surface of silicone tubing inside dialysis machines. Endotoxin releasing from those biofilms increases the bioincompatibility of dialysis liquids and leads to long-term inflammatory complications among dialysis patients. Endotoxin measurement is recommended for the control of dialysis liquids. This article describes the use of a new method, the Whole Blood Assay (WBA), for endotoxin quantification in dialysis biofilms. Biofilms were suspended in sterile water by scraping the tubing samples. Diluted blood samples from healthy donors were stimulated overnight with the contaminated suspension. Stimulated mononuclear cells released IL-1β in response to endotoxins. IL-1β level was then measured using an ultrasensitive ELISA method. We demonstrated a semilogarithmic model in which the optical densities measured after the ELISA assay increases linearly with the levels of endotoxin. This model allowed the determination of the amount of endotoxins in biofilm samples with a detection limit of 0.032 EU/mL. Most of the time, the amounts of endotoxin measured by the WBA were higher than those measured by the Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate (LAL) assay. This study suggested the presence of “endotoxin-like” compounds different from the lipopolysaccharides that are not detected by the LAL assay. We concluded that the LAL is necessary but insufficient to have a representative quantification of endotoxins that could be hazardous to patient health.




Marion-Ferey K, Leid J, Bouvier G, Pasmore M, Husson G, Vilagines R, "Endotoxin level measurement in hemodialysis biofilm using the whole blood assay," Artif Organs, 2005 29(6):475-481
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