Effect of CO2 on LPS-induced cytokine responses in rat alveolar macrophages

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2005 Jul;289(1):L96-L103. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00394.2004. Epub 2005 Mar 18.


Alveolar macrophages (AM) may be exposed to a range of CO(2) and pH levels depending on their location in the alveoli and the health of the lung. Cytokines produced by AM contribute to inflammation in acute lung injury (ALI). Current ventilatory practices for the management of ALI favor low tidal volumes, which can give rise to increases in CO(2) and changes in pH of the alveolar microenvironment. Here we examined the effect of CO(2) on cytokine release from LPS-stimulated rat AM. AM were incubated for 1-4 h under different atmospheric gas mixtures ranging from 2.5-20% CO(2). To distinguish between effects of pH and CO(2), the culture media were also buffered to pH 7.2 with NaHCO(3). Cell metabolic activity, but not cell viability, decreased and increased significantly after 4 h at 20 and 2.5% CO(2), respectively. Increasing CO(2) decreased TNF-alpha secretion but had no effect on lysate TNF-alpha. Buffering the media abated the effects of CO(2) on TNF-alpha secretion. CO(2) increased cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant factor-1 secretion only when the pH was buffered to 7.2. Effects of CO(2) on cytokine responses were reversible. In conclusion, the effects of CO(2) on cytokine lysate levels and/or secretion in AM are cytokine specific and, depending on both the cytokine and the immediate microenvironment, may be beneficial or detrimental to ALI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon Dioxide / pharmacology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokines, CXC / metabolism*
  • Cytokines
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hypercapnia / metabolism
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism*


  • Chemokines, CXC
  • Cytokines
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Carbon Dioxide