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endotoxin vs. exotoxin

endotoxin vs. exotoxin: What's the difference?

Endotoxins and exotoxins are both toxins from microorganisms. Endotoxins are contained within the cell wall of certain microorganisms (specifically bacteria), and are only released when the cell is destroyed. Endotoxins are less prolific and potent than most exotoxins, which are excreted (expelled) by microorganisms and released into the environment they’re growing in (such as inside your body, for example). Endo- means “within.” Exo- means “outside.”

[ en-doh-tok-sin ]
  1. the toxic protoplasm liberated when a microorganism dies and disintegrates, as in Eberthella typhi, the causative agent of typhoid fever.
[ ek-soh-tok-sin ]
  1. a soluble toxin excreted by a microorganism.

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