Exogenous Nitric Oxide Donor and Related Compounds Protect Against Lung Inflammatory Response After Hemorrhagic Shock and Resuscitation

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Resuscitation from hemorrhagic shock triggers an inflammatory response characterized by upregulation of cytokine and adhesion molecule expression, increased leukocyte activity, and accumulation of polymorphonuclear neutrophils in a variety of tissues. This study investigated the capability of an exogenous nitric oxide (NO) donor, sodium nitroprusside (NP); a NO substrate, L-arginine; and an inducible NO synthase inhibitor, L-N6-(1-iminoethyl)lysine (L-NIL) to reduce lung injury in an animal model of mixed controlled and uncontrolled hemorrhagic shock.


For this study, 72 Sprague–Dawley rats weighing 250 to 300 g were subjected to a model of uncontrolled hemorrhagic shock for 150 minutes. Six groups of animals were included in this study (12 per group): sham–saline, sham–NP, shock–saline, shock–NP, shock–L-arginine, and shock–L-N6-(1-iminoethyl)lysine. After the period of hemorrhagic shock, resuscitation of the groups was accomplished using normal saline (groups 1 and 3), NP (0.5 mg/kg) (groups 2 and 4), L-arginine (300 mg/kg) (group 5), or L-NIL (50 mg/kg) (group 6). The following indices were evaluated: fluid requirements for resuscitation, mean arterial pressure (MAP), arterial po2, pco2, and pH, lung wet-to-dry weight ratio, lung histology and cytokine (interleukin [IL]-1α, IL-β1, tumor necrosis factor-β [TNFβ], IL-3, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, TNFα, IL-2, interferon-γ [IFNγ]), and mRNA expression in the lung by a ribonuclease protection assay (RPA).


Sodium nitroprusside significantly increased MAP and reduced fluid requirements during resuscitation after hemorrhage. There also was a significant improvement in lung function, as expressed by improvements in po2, pco2, and pH, and reduction of the wet-to-dry weight ratio. In addition, a significant reduction in acute lung injury was observed in the histologic studies. Furthermore, the expression of cytokines was reduced by NP treatment. The use of L-arginine and L-NIL offered similar protective results for the injured lung.


These data suggest that limiting inducible NO synthase–generated NO availability with the exogenous NO donor, sodium nitroprusside, may reduce lung injury after severe hemorrhage, possibly, among other effects, by downregulating the expression of inflammatory cytokines. L-arginine and L-NIL also had a beneficial effect on lung function and structure.

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