A series of biological test reactions was used in order to establish the presence of bacterial endotoxins in the blood of rabbits during the progression of hemorrhagic shock.
1. When the shocked animal was used as the test object, it was not possible to induce either the generalized Shwartzman reaction or the dermal Shwartzman phenomenon with exogenous endotoxin (S. enteritidis or E. coli) as one of the two provocative factors.
2. Epinephrine instilled into the skin of rabbits either before, during, or after an episode of hemorrhagic shock did not result in the hemorrhagic skin reaction which occurs in the presence of as little as 1 µg of endotoxin intravenously.
3. Passive transfer from a donor in the irreversible phase of shock of 20 to 25 ml of blood into a primed recipient (B.P. at 40 mm Hg for 1 hour) was uniformly lethal.
4. Similar amounts of blood from such shocked donor failed upon intravenous injection to elicit a protective hemorrhagic reaction in skin sites which were infiltrated with 100 µg of epinephrine. In the same animals 1 µg of endotoxin added to the blood samples caused a positive dermal response.
5. Blood was taken from rabbits which had been pretreated with S. enteritidis endotoxin and then subjected to hemorrhagic shock (35 mm Hg for 2 hours). Such samples upon passive transfer produced positive skin reactions in epinephrine sites but were not lethal to the primed test recipient used in these studies.
It is concluded that the contribution of bacterial endotoxemia to the genesis of hemorrhagic shock remains to be determined.