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Leukocyte, plasma, and organ-associated cytokine profiles in an animal model of acute inflammation


  • Received 30 October 2007.

    Accepted 26 November 2007.

Lotte Ebdrup, Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Aarhus Sygehus, Nørrebrogade 44, Denmark. e-mail:


Systemic administered lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces a cytokine response in peripheral blood without correlations with cytokine content at the organ level. We hypothesised (1) that cytokine mRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) preceded the plasma cytokine increase during endotoxaemia and (2) that statins as anti-inflammatory agents modified the LPS-induced cytokine responses. 30 pigs were randomised into 3 groups: placebo (I) or atorvastatin 80 mg (II) for 21 days, followed by LPS-infusion on day 22, or controls (III). LPS was infused at increasing concentrations (2.5 to 15 μg/kg/h) for 30 min, followed by sustained infusion (2.5 μg/kg/h) for 330 min. We measured plasma IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α, and their mRNA expression in PBMCs during the LPS-infusion, and the cytokine content in kidney and heart biopsies at 360 min. LPS reduced TNF-α mRNA in PBMCs at 60 min, whereas IL-6 mRNA increased at 240 min. There were no correlations with plasma cytokines, which peaked at 60 min (IL-10 and TNF-α) and 240 min (IL-6). Cytokine content did not increase in organs, and no effects of statins could be demonstrated. In conclusion, LPS-infusion reduced leukocyte TNF-α mRNA and increased IL-6 mRNA, whereas plasma TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-10 increased markedly.