With the methods which have been described we have separated an exotoxin and an endotoxin from cultures of the Shiga dysenteric bacillus. The study of the nature and effect of the poison of this microorganism is thus simplified. The two toxins are physically and biologically distinct. The exotoxin is relatively heat-labile, arises in the early period of growth, and yields an antiexotoxic immune serum. The endotoxin, on the other hand, is heat-stable, is formed in the later period of growth, and is not neutralized by the antiexotoxic serum. The exotoxin exhibits a specific affinity for the central nervous organs in the rabbit, giving rise to a characteristic lesion—mainly, hemorrhages, necroses, and possibly a perivascular infiltration in the gray matter of the upper spinal cord and medulla. The endotoxin exerts a typical action on the intestinal tract, producing edema, hemorrhages, necroses, and ulcerations, especially in the large intestine.
In dysentery in man the intestinal lesions predominate, but in severe epidemics paralysis and neuritis have been observed (Osler17).
These facts become specially significant from the standpoint of the serum therapy of bacillary dysentery. A potent antidysenteric serum should contain antibodies against the exotoxin as well as the endotoxin. That such a serum can be produced in horses has been experimentally demonstrated.