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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 1994 Nov;38(8):858-62.

Effects of propofol and thiopentone on polymorphonuclear leukocyte functions in vitro.

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Department of Medicine, Patras University, Medical School, Greece.


Anesthetic agents may impair host defense mechanisms including polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMNL) function. We have studied the effects of thiopentone and propofol in low (thiopentone 10 mg/L, propofol 2 mg/l) and high (thiopentone 40 mg/L, propofol 6 mg/L) clinically relevant concentrations on PMNL adherence, chemotaxis, phagocytosis and killing in vitro. The results demonstrated that thiopentone in both concentrations significantly decreases all PMNL functions tested and had a direct influence on the PMNLs in terms of their chemotactic response. In contrast, propofol decreases significantly only PMNL chemotaxis but not adherence, phagocytosis and killing. The effect of propofol was not attributable to the lipid carrier vehicle, as Intralipid with same formulation had no effect on PMNL function. We conclude that propofol is a relatively safe agent from the viewpoint of PMNL function in vitro, which may be of potential clinical benefit.

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