Objective: On the basis of previous animal studies, we hypothesized that dexamethasone may reduce the expression of L-selectin on neutrophils and lymphocytes in healthy men.
Methods: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, and three-way crossover trial was conducted in nine healthy men. Every subject received four identical infusions of saline solution, 0.04 mg/kg dexamethasone, or 1.0 mg/kg dexamethasone during three observation periods of 48 hours each.
Results: Dexamethasone time and dose dependently decreased the L-selectin expression on neutrophils and lymphocytes as measured by flowcytometry. This effect occurred with a time lag of 8 hours after start of treatment: the L-selectin binding index of neutrophils decreased by a maximum of -50% (confidence interval [CI], -37% to -63%) and that of lymphocytes by -26% (CI, -8% to -45%) at 32 hours after the start of treatment with high-dose dexamethasone (p < 0.016). Low-dose dexamethasone had only a transient effect on L-selectin expression of lymphocytes and a less pronounced effect on L-selectin expression of neutrophils.
Conclusion: Dexamethasone time and dose dependently decreases L-selectin expression on neutrophils and lymphocytes in health men, an effect that is less pronounced than that previously reported for animals.