Differential effector responses by circulating/blood and tissue/peritoneal neutrophils following burn combined with Enterococcus faecalis infection

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Recently we found that superimposition of Enterococcus faecalis infection on burn injury caused an eruption of host mortality not seen with either individual challenge. We hypothesized that the Enterococcus bacteria, and/or factors related to these organisms, aggravate burn-induced modulations in host defense by neutrophils. Our study focuses on alterations in neutrophils' oxidative, proteolytic, and adhesive functions and transendothelial migration of neutrophils in burn rats inoculated with E. faecalis. Rats were subjected to burn (30% total body surface area) and then intra-abdominally inoculated with E. faecalis (104CFU kg−1 b.w). Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) were harvested from circulating/blood and tissue/peritoneal cavity at day-2 post injury. Extracellular release of O−2 anion production was determined by luminometry, and intracellular production of reactive oxygen species was measured by digital imaging technique. Fluoroscan analysis and confocal microscopy determined intracellular elastase production. The expression of adhesion molecule CD11b/CD18 was performed by flow cytometry. Calcein AM-labeled PMNs were co-cultured with TNF-α-stimulated rat lung microvascular endothelial cells, and their ability to adhere was assessed by fluorometry and digital imaging and finally, chemotaxis was measured by neutrophil transmigration assays. The results showed differential effector responses by circulatory and/or tissue PMNs. Tissue/peritoneal PMNs produced more O−2 less intracellular elastase, and increased expression of CD11b/CD18 accompanied with increased adhesivity of MIP-2-stimulated PMNs to endothelial cells as compared to circulatory/blood PMNs. This differential effect was more pronounced following burn plus E. faecalis infection, indicating that the combined injury changed neutrophil functions.

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