Inhibition of Neutrophil Activation by Volatile Anesthetics Decreases Adhesion to Cultured Human Endothelial Cells

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Abstract

Background

Polymorphonuclear leukocytes (neutrophils, PMNs) have been shown to mediate vascular and tissue injury, leading to so-called systemic inflammatory response syndrome. The authors evaluated the effect of volatile anesthetics on neutrophil adhesion to human endothelial cells, focusing on whether the inhibitory effect observed is linked to an alteration in the function of endothelial cells or neutrophils.

Methods

The adhesion of human PMNs was quantified using cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). The increase in the number of adhering PMNs was assessed when HUVECs (with 1 mM hydrogen peroxide), PMNs (with 10 nM N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine), or both were pre-stimulated. To determine the influence of volatile anesthetics on the adhesion of PMNs, the experiments were performed in the absence or presence of 0.5, 1, and 2 minimum alveolar concentration halothane, isoflurane, or sevoflurane, whereby HUVECs, PMNs, or both were pretreated with gas.

Results

Activation of HUVECs with hydrogen peroxide or stimulation of PMNs with N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine resulted in a 2.5-fold increase in PMN adhesion. Preincubation of PMNs, separately, with halothane, isoflurane, or sevoflurane, respectively, abolished enhanced neutrophil adhesion to hydrogen peroxide-activated HUVECs and adhesion of PMNs prestimulated with N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine to unstimulated HUVECs (maximal effect at 1 minimum alveolar concentration). No decrease in adhesion was detected when only HUVECs were pretreated with volatile anesthetics. Additional exposure of HUVECs and PMNs to volatile anesthetics had no inhibitory effect on adhesion greater than that seen when only PMNs were treated. Appropriately, the volatile anesthetics abolished the upward regulation of the adhesion molecule CD11b on PMNs (as evaluated at 1 minimum alveolar concentration each), whereas 1 minimum alveolar concentration halothane failed to affect the expression of P-selectin, an adhesion molecule on endothelial cells.

Conclusions

This study indicates that halothane, isoflurane, and sevoflurane inhibit neutrophil adhesion to human endothelial cells at concentrations relevant to anesthesia in a static system. The effects appear to be mediated by inhibition of PMN activation; that is by attenuating the upward regulation of neutrophil CD11b.

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