We have previously demonstrated that aging is associated with prolonged pulmonary inflammation in a murine model of thermal injury. To further investigate these observations, we examined lung congestion, markers of neutrophil chemotaxis and adhesion, and lung endothelia responses in young and aged mice following burn injury. Analysis of lung tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid 24 hours after injury revealed that more neutrophils accumulated in the lungs of aged mice (p<0.05), but did not migrate into the alveoli. We then sought to determine if accumulation of neutrophils in the lungs of aged mice was due to differences in the peripheral neutrophil pool or local changes within the lung. Following burn injury, aged mice developed a pronounced peripheral blood neutrophilia (p<0.05) in comparison to their younger counterparts. In aged animals, there was a reduced frequency and mean fluorescent intensity of neutrophil CXCR2 expression (p<0.05). Interestingly, in uninjured aged mice, peripheral blood neutrophils demonstrated elevated chemokinesis, or hyperchemokinesis, (p<0.05), but showed a minimal chemotatic response to KC. To determine if age impacts neutrophil adhesion molecules, we assessed CD62L and CD11b expression on peripheral blood neutrophils. No age-dependent difference in the frequency or mean fluorescent intensity of CD62L or CD11b was observed post-burn trauma. Examination of pulmonary vasculature adhesion molecules which interact with neutrophil selectins and integrins revealed that intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) was elevated in aged mice at 24 hours after burn as compared to young mice (p<0.05). Overall, our data suggests that age-associated pulmonary congestion observed following burn injury may be due to differences in lung endothelial adhesion responses that are compounded by elevated numbers of hyperchemokinetic circulating neutrophils in aged mice.
Keywords: Adhesion; Aging; Burn injury; Chemotaxis; Lung; Neutrophils.