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Blood Clots Prevent Deadly Bacterial Toxin from Spreading in Body

New research from the University of California, Davis suggests that blood clots may play an unexpected role in protecting the body from the effects of deadly bacteria.

Bacterial toxins, such as lipopolysaccharide (also known as endotoxin), can cause a variety of negative health effects including septic shock, which can significantly damage organs. In animals, lipopolysaccharide can cause disease and has been shown to be toxic to both horseshoe crabs and lobsters. Both of these arthropods are capable of getting blood clots in response to injury.

Senior research author Peter Armstrong, a professor of molecular and cellular biology at UC Davis, found that blood clots in horseshoe crabs and lobsters actively soak up the toxic lipopolysaccharide, reducing its release from the site of a wound into the body where it could cause disease or death.

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