Effects of interleukin-2 on the pulmonary microvasculature in anesthetized sheep

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1994 Feb;76(2):909-15. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1994.76.2.909.


Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is reputed to cause pulmonary microvascular injury. We studied the pulmonary and splanchnic microcirculation of anesthetized sheep after one dose (1.8 x 10(6) IU/kg) of IL-2 (n = 9) and after six doses (1.8 x 10(6) IU.kg-1.dose-1) of IL-2 over 3 days (n = 9). Seven control sheep received only 5% dextrose diluent. We measured hemodynamics and lymph dynamics in anesthetized sheep after the final dose of IL-2 or diluent. After one dose of IL-2, caudal mediastinal node (mainly pulmonary) lymph flow was stable, whereas thoracic duct lymph flow increased from a baseline of 54 +/- 6 to 124 +/- 22 ml/h. After 3 days of IL-2, the caudal mediastinal node lymph flow increased from 7.7 +/- 5.5 to 19.0 +/- 14.8 ml/h 5-6 h after the final dose of IL-2, and thoracic duct lymph flow increased from 84 +/- 43 to 143 +/- 42 ml/h. The lymph-to-plasma protein concentration ratio increased after IL-2 for thoracic duct but not for caudal mediastinal node lymph. The equilibration rate of 125I-albumin from plasma to caudal mediastinal node lymph did not change, whereas plasma-to-thoracic duct lymph equilibration was faster after both one dose and 3 days of IL-2. Positron emission tomography showed no increase in the pulmonary transcapillary escape rate for 68Ga-labeled transferrin or in extravascular lung water (n = 4). We conclude that IL-2 at doses two to three times those used clinically does not significantly injure the pulmonary microcirculation of sheep.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Cells / cytology
  • Extravascular Lung Water / metabolism
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lymph / cytology
  • Lymph / metabolism
  • Microcirculation
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Pulmonary Circulation / drug effects*
  • Sheep
  • Splanchnic Circulation / drug effects
  • Thoracic Duct / metabolism


  • Interleukin-2