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Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2014 Dec;156(12):2365-78. doi: 10.1007/s00701-014-2243-1. Epub 2014 Oct 12.

Shock wave trauma leads to inflammatory response and morphological activation in macrophage cell lines, but does not induce iNOS or NO synthesis.

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Department of Neuroscience, Section of Experimental Traumatology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden,



Experimental CNS trauma results in post-traumatic inflammation for which microglia and macrophages are vital. Experimental brain contusion entails iNOS synthesis and formation of free radicals, NO and peroxynitrite. Shock wave trauma can be used as a model of high-energy trauma in cell culture. It is known that shock wave trauma causes sub-lytic injury and inflammatory activation in endothelial cells. Mechanical disruption of red blood cells can induce iNOS synthesis in experimental systems. However, it is not known whether trauma can induce activation and iNOS synthesis in inflammatory cell lines with microglial or macrophage lineage. We studied the response and activation in two macrophage cell lines and the consequence for iNOS and NO formation after shock wave trauma.


Two macrophage cell lines from rat (NR8383) and mouse (RAW264.7) were exposed to shock wave trauma by the Flyer Plate method. The cellular response was investigated by Affymetrix gene arrays. Cell survival and morphological activation was monitored for 24 h in a Cell-IQ live cell imaging system. iNOS induction and NO synthesis were analyzed by Western blot, in cell Western IR-immunofluorescence, and Griess nitrite assay.


Morphological signs of activation were detected in both macrophage cell lines. The activation of RAW264.7 was statistically significant (p < 0.05), but activation of NR8383 did not pass the threshold of statistical significance alpha (p > 0.05). The growth rate of idle cells was unaffected and growth arrest was not seen. Trauma did not result in iNOS synthesis or NO induction. Gene array analyses showed high enrichment for inflammatory response, G-protein coupled signaling, detection of stimulus and chemotaxis. Shock wave trauma combined with low LPS stimulation instead led to high enrichment in apoptosis, IL-8 signaling, mitosis and DNA-related activities. LPS/IFN-ɣ stimulation caused iNOS and NO induction and morphological activation in both cell lines.


Shock wave trauma by the Flyer Plate method caused an inflammatory response and morphological signs of activation in two macrophage cell lines, while iNOS induction appeared to require humoral signaling by LPS/IFN-ɣ. Our findings indicated that direct energy transfer by trauma can activate macrophages directly without humoral mediators, which comprises a novel activation mechanism of macrophages.

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