Molecular determinants for a cardiovascular collapse in anthrax

Jurgen Brojatsch, Arturo Casadevall, David L. Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Bacillus anthracis releases two bipartite proteins, lethal toxin and edema factor, that contribute significantly to the progression of anthrax-associated shock. As blocking the anthrax toxins prevents disease, the toxins are considered the main virulence factors of the bacterium. The anthrax bacterium and the anthrax toxins trigger multiorgan failure associated with enhanced vascular permeability, hemorrhage and cardiac dysfunction in animal challenge models. A recent study using mice that either lacked the anthrax toxin receptor in specific cells and corresponding mice expressing the receptor in specific cell types demonstrated that cardiovascular cells are critical for disease mediated by anthrax lethal toxin. These studies are consistent with involvement of the cardiovascular system, and with an increase of cardiac failure markers observed in human anthrax and in animal models using B. anthracis and anthrax toxins. This review discusses the current state of knowledge regarding the pathophysiology of anthrax and tries to provide a mechanistic model and molecular determinants for the circulatory shock in anthrax.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-147
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience - Elite
Volume6 E
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthrax
  • Apoptosis
  • MAPK
  • Nod-like receptor
  • Review
  • Shock

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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