The effects of bacterial endotoxin (LPS) on cardiac function in a medicinal blow fly (Phaenicia sericata) and a fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)

Ogechi Anyagaligbo, Jate Bernard, Abigail Greenhalgh, Robin L. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The bacterial endotoxins, lipopolysaccharides (LPS), are known to have direct effects on mammalian heart cells; thus, LPS is likely to have some effects in other cardiac models. Drosophila melanogaster was used since it serves as a model for cardiac physiology. Larvae of blow flies (Phaenicia sericata) commonly used as therapy for debriding dead tissue, are exposed to high levels of bacterial endotoxins, but their mechanisms of LPS resistance are not entirely understood. Comparative effects of LPS on heart rate (HR) were examined for both Drosophila and blowfly larvae. Acute 10-min direct exposure of in situ heart tubes with saline containing 1, 100, and 500 μg/ml LPS from two common bacterial stains (Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Serratia marcescens) revealed a dose-dependent effect. The effects differed between the two fly models. Larval hearts of Drosophila stopped rapidly in low Ca2+ containing saline, but the hearts of blow flies appear unaffected for >30 min. S. marcescens increased HR initially in Drosophila followed by a reduction for low and high doses, but no change was observed in larvae of blow flies. Whereas P. aeruginosa at a high dose decreased HR in larvae of Drosophila but increased HR in larvae of blow flies. The goal of this study is to better the understanding in the direct action of LPS on HR. Knowing the acute and direct actions of LPS exposure on HR in different species of larvae may aid in understanding the underlying mechanisms in other animals during septicemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-24
Number of pages10
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - C: Toxicology and Pharmacology
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Cardiac
  • Endotoxin
  • Heart rate
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Pseudomonas
  • Serratia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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