To assess the possible role of endotoxaemia in the pathogenesis of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), antibodies to endotoxin core (EndoCAb), which have previously been shown to be depressed by systemic endotoxaemia, were measured. IgG and IgM EndoCAb and total serum IgG and IgM were measured in serum samples from 25 children who had died from SIDS and 164 control children under 1 year of age. Twelve (48%) of the 25 children who had died from SIDS had no detectable IgG EndoCAb compared with 28 (17%) of the 164 control children, and this difference was concentrated in children aged less than 3 months. There was no significant difference between the two groups in the percentage of children with no IgM EndoCAb, nor in the total IgG and IgM concentrations. For IgM EndoCAb, the younger children who had died from SIDS had higher concentrations than the controls. These results suggest that, in children who have died from SIDS, due to either unusually early or severe exposure to endotoxin, maternal IgG EndoCAb have been depleted and early IgM EndoCAb triggered.
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