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Lethal synergistic action of toxins of bacteria isolated from sudden infant death syndrome.
  1. D B Drucker,
  2. H S Aluyi,
  3. J A Morris,
  4. D R Telford,
  5. A Gibbs
  1. Department of Cell and Structural Biology, University of Manchester.


    AIM: To test the hypothesis that lethal toxins of bacteria associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) can act synergistically. METHODS: Bacteria occurring together in the nasopharynx of cases of cot death were studied. The lethal toxicity of crude toxin preparations was determined over a range of dilutions by injections into the chorioallantoic vein of the chick embryo. Toxin preparations of low lethality for the chick embryo SIDS model were then tested in combination. RESULTS: Staphylococcus aureus toxin preparations showed low lethality when tested alone, even at low dilution. At 1 in 100 dilution S aureus toxin was lethal to one out of 15 chick embryos. Escherichia coli toxin preparations showed high lethality except on high dilution (1 in 80) when lethality fell to two out of 15 of chick embryos. When the same toxin preparations were tested simultaneously in combination, lethality rose to 14 out of 15. Similar findings were observed over a range of toxin dilutions. This finding was highly significant (p = 0.0012). CONCLUSIONS: That synergy between toxins can enhance the lethality of toxins elaborated by bacteria associated with SIDS.

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