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Blood. 1995 Aug 1;86(3):1027-34.

Contribution of interleukin-1 to activation of coagulation and fibrinolysis, neutrophil degranulation, and the release of secretory-type phospholipase A2 in sepsis: studies in nonhuman primates after interleukin-1 alpha administration and during lethal bacteremia.

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Central Laboratory of the Netherlands Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service, Amsterdam.


Although studies with interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) in animal models have shown that IL-1 contributes to mortality in sepsis, the mechanisms whereby IL-1 mediates lethal effects are not well established. A possible mechanism is that IL-1 enhances the activation and release of other inflammatory mediator systems such as coagulation, fibrinolysis, neutrophils, and secretory-type phospholipase A2 (sPLA2). We investigated this possibility by assessing the effect of intravenously injected recombinant human IL-1 alpha (rhIL-1 alpha) on these plasma parameters in baboons. In addition, we examined the course of these inflammatory parameters in baboons after a challenge with a lethal dose of Escherichia coli and while receiving a 24-hour constant infusion of IL-1ra or placebo. Intravenous administration of IL-1 alpha (10 micrograms/kg) induced the formation of thrombin, as evidenced by the appearance of thrombin-antithrombin III (TAT) complexes into the circulation (peak levels, 188 +/- 92 ng/mL at 2 hours), as well as the activation of fibrinolysis, assessed by circulating plasmin-alpha 2-antiplasmin complexes (PAP complexes; peak levels, 0.4% +/- 0.03% of fully activated plasma at 1 hour), the release of tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA; peak levels, 6 +/- 2 ng/mL at 2 hours), and its inhibitor, plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI; peak levels, 724 +/- 246 ng/mL at 4 hours). Il-1 alpha administration also induced the release of sPLA2 (maximal levels, 336 +/- 185 ng/mL at 8 hours), but not degranulation of neutrophils. In the septic baboons, a significant reduction of the formation of thrombin (peak TAT levels decreased from 582 +/- 78 ng/mL to 219 +/- 106 ng/mL; P < .005), the release of t-PA (peak levels decreased from 37 +/- 11 ng/mL to 17 +/- 2 ng/mL; P < .001), and its inhibitor, PAI (peak levels decreased from 2,639 +/- 974 ng/mL to 1,110 +/- 153 ng/mL; P <.001), was observed in the group receiving IL-1ra compared to that receiving placebo. The release of neutrophilic elastase was also significantly attenuated in IL-1a-treated animals (peak levels, 1,024 +/- 393 and 655 +/- 104 ng/mL in control and treatment groups, respectively; P < .05). The difference between sPLA2 levels in both groups, although higher in the controls (maximal levels, 3,140 +/- 1,435 ng/mL in control v 2,217 +/- 1,375 ng/mL in IL-1ra-treated group), was not significant. Thus, IL-1 contributes to activation of various other mediator systems in severe sepsis in nonhuman primates. We propose that these effects may explain the lethal actions of IL-1 in this sepsis model and suggest a similar role for IL-1 in severe human sepsis.

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