Recombinant human soluble thrombomodulin prevents acute lung injury in a rat cardiopulmonary bypass model

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Cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) may induce systemic inflammatory responses causing acute lung injury. Recombinant human soluble thrombomodulin (rTM) is reported to attenuate the secretion of inflammatory cytokines and the high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein, which is critical in controlling systemic inflammation and apoptosis. We investigated the protective effects of rTM on CPB-induced lung injury in a rat model.


Eighteen male Sprague–Dawley rats were divided into 3 groups: sham, control (CPB alone), and rTM (CPB + rTM). CPB was conducted in the control group and the rTM group. A bolus of rTM (3 mg/kg) was administered to the rTM group rats before CPB establishment.


The ratio of partial pressure of arterial oxygen to the fraction of inspired oxygen only dropped markedly from before CPB in the control group (P < .001). Serum tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin (IL) 6, and HMGB1 levels were significantly higher in the control group after CPB. Pathologic study revealed significantly more severe congestion, alveolar hemorrhage, neutrophil accumulation, and edema, and the number of lung cells expressing HMGB1 increased in the control group. The mRNA expression levels of tumor necrosis factor α, IL-6, IL-1β, and HMGB1 in the control group were significantly higher than those in other groups. According to Western blot analysis, nuclear factor-κB p65 in lung tissue was significantly downregulated in the rTM group. The number of apoptotic cells and the protein of cleaved Caspase-3 were reduced in the rTM group.


These results suggest that rTM prevents acute lung injury through attenuating inflammation and apoptosis during and after CPB in a rat model.

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