Tumor necrosis factor-alpha mediates acid aspiration-induced systemic organ injury

Ann Surg. 1990 Oct;212(4):513-9; discussion 519-20. doi: 10.1097/00000658-199010000-00013.


Acid aspiration-induced systemic organ injury is mediated by the sequestration of activated neutrophils (PMN). In other settings cytokines have been shown to increase neutrophil-endothelial adhesion, a requisite for injury. This study tests whether the systemic leukosequestration and permeability following localized aspiration is mediated by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha-induced synthesis of an adhesion protein. Anesthetized rats underwent tracheostomy and insertion of a fine-bore cannula into the anterior segment of the left lung. This was followed by the instillation of either 0.1 mL 0.1 N HCI (n = 18) or 0.1 mL saline in control rats (n = 18). Localized aspiration induced generalized pulmonary leukosequestration with 95 PMN/10 high-power fields (HPF) in the aspirated lung and 46 PMN/10 HPF in the nonaspirated lung, higher than control values of 7 PMN/10 HPF and 5 PMN/10 HPF in saline- and nonsaline-aspirated sides, respectively (p less than 0.05). The leukosequestration was associated with permeability edema shown by increased protein concentrations in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) of 3900 micrograms/mL in the aspirated and 2680 micrograms/mL in the nonaspirated side, higher than saline with 482 micrograms/mL and 411 micrograms/mL, respectively (p less than 0.05). There was generalized pulmonary edema following aspiration measured by increase in wet-to-dry weight ratios (w/d) of 6.6 in the aspirated and 5.1 in the nonaspirated lung, higher than control values of 3.5 and 3.4, respectively (p less than 0.05). Localized aspiration led to systemic leukosequestration documented by increases in myeloperoxidase activity (units/g tissue) of 2.2 and 1.7 in heart and kidney, higher than control values of 0.3 and 0.4, respectively (p less than 0.05). This event was associated with edema of these organs with w/d ratios of 4.6 and 4.3, relative to control values of 3.0 and 3.4 (p less than 0.05). Treatment of animals (n = 18) 20 minutes after aspiration with anti-TNF-alpha antiserum (rabbit anti-murine) but not normal rabbit serum (n = 18) reduced lung leukosequestration in the aspirated and nonaspirated segments (61 and 32 PMN/10HPF), BAL protein concentration (1490 and 840 micrograms/mL), and w/d ratio (4.3 and 3.7) (all p less than 0.05). In the heart and kidney there were reductions in myeloperoxidase activity (0.7 and 0.6) and w/d ratio (3.5 and 3.6) (both p less than 0.05). Treatment of rabbits (n = 18) with the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide, 0.2 mg/kg/hr was as effective as TNF-alpha antiserum in modifying aspiration injury.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cycloheximide / pharmacology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Neutrophils / physiology*
  • Organ Size
  • Permeability
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / pathology*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*


  • Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Cycloheximide