A randomized controlled trial of peripheral blood mononuclear cell depletion in experimental human lung inflammation

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013 Aug 15;188(4):449-55. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201212-2334OC.


Rationale: Depletion of monocytes reduces LPS-induced lung inflammation in mice, suggesting monocytes as potential therapeutic targets in acute lung injury.

Objectives: To investigate whether depletion of circulating blood monocytes has beneficial effects on markers of systemic and pulmonary inflammation in a human model of acute lung inflammation.

Methods: A total of 30 healthy volunteers were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial. Volunteers inhaled LPS at baseline, and were randomized to receive active mononuclear cell depletion by leukapheresis, or sham leukapheresis, in a double-blind fashion (15 volunteers per group). Serial blood counts were measured, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) was performed at 9 hours, and [(18)F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography at 24 hours. The primary endpoint was the increment in circulating neutrophils at 8 hours.

Measurements and main results: As expected, inhalation of LPS induced neutrophilia and an up-regulation of inflammatory mediators in the blood and lungs of all volunteers. There was no significant difference between the depletion and sham groups in the mean increment in blood neutrophil count at 8 hours (6.16 × 10(9)/L and 6.15 × 10(9)/L, respectively; P = 1.00). Furthermore, there were no significant differences in BAL neutrophils or protein, positron emission tomography-derived measures of global lung inflammation, or cytokine levels in plasma or BAL supernatant between the study groups. No serious adverse events occurred, and no symptoms were significantly different between the groups.

Conclusions: These findings do not support a role for circulating human monocytes in the early recruitment of neutrophils during LPS-mediated acute lung inflammation in humans.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / physiology*
  • Leukapheresis*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear
  • Male
  • Up-Regulation / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN42695423