Increased Sheep Lung Vascular Permeability Caused by Escherichia coli Endotoxin

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We infused Escherichia coli endotoxin, 0.07-1.33 μ/kg, intravenously into chronically instrumented unanesthetized sheep and measured pulmonary arterial and left atrial pressures, lung lymph flow, lymph and blood plasma protein concentrations, and arterial blood gases. Endotoxin caused a biphasic reaction: an early phase of pulmonary hypertension and a long late phase of steady state increased pulmonary vascular permeability during which pulmonary arterial and left atrial pressures were not increased significantly and lung lymph flow was 5 times the baseline value. Lymph: plasma total protein concentration ratio during the late phase (0.76 ± 0.04) was significantly (P < 0.05) higher than during baseline (0.66 ± 0.03). The lymph response was reproducible. Lung lymph clearance of endogenous proteins with molecular radii (r) 35.5 to 96 A was increased during the steady state late phase of the reaction, but, as during baseline, clearance decreased as r increased. The endotoxin reaction was similar to the reaction to infusing whole Pseudomonas bacteria, except that endotoxin had less effect on pressures during the steady state response and caused a relatively larger increase in lymph clearance of large proteins. We conclude that E. coli endotoxin in sheep causes a long period of increased lung vascular permeability and may have a greater effect on large solute pathways across microvessels than do Pseudomonaa bacteria. Circ Res 45: 292-397, 1979

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