These studies were aimed to assessing the contribution of catecholamine imbalance in the lethal activity of bacterial endotoxins. Chemical sympathectomy in newborn rats by either guanethidine, bretylium tosylate, or 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) did not alter the survival of animals as compared to saline-pretreated newborn rats challenged with endotoxin. Tolerance to endotoxin lethality could be established in 6-OHDA-treated baby rats at least as well as in saline-injected controls. Since cortisone protected the 6-OHDA-pretreated sucklings against the lethal effects of endotoxin, it seems that the protective ability of the hormone is not an effect of the known anticatecholamine-like activity of the gluco-corticoids. All evidence indicates that endotoxins, like corticosteroids, directly influence a common receptor/effector system capable of committing the direction of homeostasis in the hepatic tissue.

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