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J Surg Res. 1996 Jun;63(1):143-6.

Thalidomide inhibits TNF response and increases survival following endotoxin injection in rats.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, Newark 07103, USA.


Sepsis is a leading cause of death following major trauma and complicated abdominal surgery. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) is believed to be a central mediator in the inflammatory response syndrome. Numerous methods of blunting the TNF response in sepsis have been attempted with suggestion of increased survival and decreased organ injury. Thalidomide, shown in vitro to selectively inhibit TNF production, has been used clinically in states of chronic TNF elevation with encouraging results. In this study, we examined the effect of thalidomide administration in a rat model of acute septic shock. Femoral artery cannulation was performed and baseline TNF measured. Dose response was determined by giving varying doses of thalidomide by gavage. Rats were injected intraarterially with endotoxin and serial samples drawn. TNF was measured by ELISA. For survival, thalidomide was given by gavage and endotoxin injected intraperitoneally. Serum TNF elevation occurred after endotoxin injection with peak levels at 90 min. Thalidomide treated rats had lower TNF levels at all time points (P = <0.01 at 90 and 120 min), with the inhibition being dose dependent. Survival in treated rats exceeded that of untreated rats (53% vs 19%, P = <0.05) at 48 and 72 hr. In conclusion, we found that thalidomide administration leads to increased survival following acute endotoxemia, which may be due to the observed TNF inhibition.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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