Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of procalcitonin on the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced changes in human leucocytes and porcine isolated coronary artery.
Methods: Using flow cytometry, changes in forward scatter and intracellular calcium in human neutrophils and monocytes were determined after exposure to procalcitonin, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), LPS, and the known chemoattractants formylated methionine-leucine-phenylalanine (fMLP) and interleukin-8 (IL-8). In porcine isolated coronary artery, the effects of procalcitonin were evaluated using the contractile function change and the release of TNFalpha.
Results: In human neutrophils and monocytes, procalcitonin (100 nM), but not CGRP, increased forward scatter and the expression of surface markers (CD16 and CD14, respectively) in a similar manner to 10 microg ml(-1) LPS. Procalcitonin, but not CGRP, also increased the proportion of cells exhibiting an increase in intracellular calcium ions similar to that produced by fMLP and IL-8. Acute exposure of the coronary artery to procalcitonin produced a small, endothelium-independent relaxation (approximately 15% of constrictor tone), but failed to modify subsequent relaxations to CGRP. After 16 h exposure, procalcitonin (100 nM) increased TNFalpha release from the coronary artery equivalent to 70% of that produced by LPS, but did not modify the inhibitory effect of LPS (100 microg ml(-1)) on contractile responses.
Conclusions: Procalcitonin has a proinflammatory effect on human leucocytes and porcine coronary artery, but it is not capable of modulating LPS-induced changes in vascular responsiveness in vitro.