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J Cardiothorac Surg. 2013 Aug 29;8:186. doi: 10.1186/1749-8090-8-186.

The effect of venovenous extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy on immune inflammatory response of cerebral tissues in porcine model.

Author information

  • 1Department of General Surgery, Jinling Hospital, Medical School of Nanjing University, Nanjing 210002, Jiangsu, China. NingLinju@hotmail.com.



Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) therapy is associated with high risk of neurologic injury. But the mechanism of neurologic injury during and/or after ECMO therapy is still unclear. Recent animal experiments confirmed that ECMO treatment increases the immune inflammatory response. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of VV- ECMO on immune inflammatory response of cerebral tissues and neurological impairment.


18 porcine were randomly divided into control, sham and ECMO group (n = 6/group). ECMO was run 24 h in the ECMO group, and serum collected at 0, 2, 6, 12 and 24 h during ECMO treatment for the analysis of cytokine (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10, TNF-a) and cerebral injury specific biomarker S100B and NSE. After 24 h ECMO treatment, all animals were euthanized and cerebral tissues (hypothalamus, hippocampus and cortex) were collected for measure of mRNA and protein levels of cytokine (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10, TNF-a).


The results during ECMO treatment showed that all the pro-inflammation cytokines were increased significantly after 2 h, and anti-inflammation IL-10 showed transient hoist in the first 2 h in serum. After 24 h ECMO therapy, the mRNA levels of pro-inflammation cytokines and anti-inflammation IL-10 were simultaneously up-regulated in cerebral tissues (hypothalamus, hippocampus and cortex). And protein concentrations also showed different increasing levels in cerebral tissues. However, during the ECMO treatment, S100B and NSE protein in serum did not change significantly.


These findings suggest VV-ECMO treatment can not only lead to immune inflammatory response in blood, but can also produce immune and inflammatory response in cerebral tissues. However the extent of immune inflammation was not sufficient to cause significant neurological impairment in this study. But the correlation between cerebral inflammatory response and cerebral impairment need to further explore.

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