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Abstract

The role of complement as potential activator for tissue macrophages and neutrophils was investigated in an experimental model of endotoxin-induced liver injury in male Fischer rats. Injection of Salmonella enteritidis endotoxin (1 mg/kg) into Corynebacterium parvum-pretreated animals (7 mg/kg; single dose 6 days before endotoxin) resulted in severe oxidant stress, as indicated by a 37-fold increase of plasma levels of glutathione disulfide (basal concentration, 0.36 ± 14 μmol/L), accumulation of neutrophils in the liver (600 ± 31 neutrophils/50 high-power fields) and liver injury (plasma ALT, 1184 ± 185 U/l; necrosis; 19% ± 3%) 10 hr after endotoxin. The oxidant stress induced by 1 mg/kg endotoxin in the C. parvum-treated animals was always significantly higher than that in control animals receiving the same dose of endotoxin. Inhibition of complement activation with the soluble complement receptor type 1 attenuated the oxidant stress and liver injury by 50% to 65% but had no effect on hepatic neutrophil accumulation or plasma tumor necrosis factor-α levels. Treatment with a monoclonal antibody directed against the α-chain of CD11b/CD18 adhesion proteins (clone 17), which was highly effective in attenuating ischemia-reperfusion injury in the liver by reducing the number of neutrophils and functionally inactivating these cells, neither protected against parenchymal cell injury nor affected hepatic neutrophil infiltration in the C. parvum model. We conclude that reactive oxygen derived from complement-stimulated macrophages is critical for the development of liver injury in the C. parvum/endotoxin model. (HEPATOLOGY 1994; 19:973–979.)