Effects of proinflammatory cytokines and bacterial toxins on neutrophil rheologic properties

Crit Care Med. 1998 Oct;26(10):1677-82. doi: 10.1097/00003246-199810000-00021.


Objective: To examine the changes in neutrophil deformability, aggregation, and adherence in response to stimulation with proinflammatory cytokines and bacterial toxins.

Design: Prospective, randomized trial.

Setting: Research laboratory.

Subjects: Neutrophils isolated from healthy volunteers.

Interventions: Neutrophils were exposed to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-8, their combination, endotoxin (LPS), lipoteichoic acid (LTA), and staphyloccocal enterotoxin B (SEB). Neutrophil deformability was measured as percent neutrophils filtered through 5-microm diameter filters. Aggregation was measured using a platelet aggregometer. Adherence was determined by examining the binding of neutrophils to albumin-coated latex beads.

Measurements and main results: Exposure to TNF-alpha and IL-1beta led to significant decreases in neutrophil filterability, which was attenuated by cytochalasin D pretreatment. LPS and LTA also decreased deformability, suggesting that these toxins directly stimulated neutrophils independent of cytokines. IL-8 and SEB did not significantly affect neutrophil deformability. TNF-alpha and LPS were associated with significant neutrophil aggregation, which was inhibited by pretreatment with anti-CD18 antibodies. Neutrophil aggregation was not affected by IL-1beta, LTA, or SEB. TNF-alpha, IL-8, and LPS increased neutrophil adherence, which also was attenuated by pretreatment with anti-CD18 antibodies. IL-1beta, LTA, and SEB did not significantly affect neutrophil adherence.

Conclusions: Cytokines and bacterial toxins differ in their effects on neutrophil deformability, aggregation, and adherence. Of the cytokines examined, TNF-alpha appears to have the greatest direct effects on neutrophil rheology. Similarly, endotoxin appears to have greater direct effects on neutrophil rheology than the Gram-positive bacterial toxins, LTA, and staphylococcal enterotoxins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Aggregation / drug effects
  • Enterotoxins / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-8 / pharmacology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Neutrophils / drug effects*
  • Neutrophils / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rheology / drug effects*
  • Salmonella*
  • Staphylococcus*
  • Teichoic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology*


  • Enterotoxins
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-8
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Teichoic Acids
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • lipoteichoic acid