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Am J Kidney Dis. 1997 Nov;30(5 Suppl 4):S57-65.

Relevance of platelet-activating factor in inflammation and sepsis: mechanisms and kinetics of removal in extracorporeal treatments.

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Clinical and Laboratory Research Department, Bellco, Mirandola (Modena), Italy.


Sepsis can be considered a systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) caused by infection. When an excessive and/or persistent activation of humoral and cellular mechanisms of host defense is present, an exaggerated and generalized activation of inflammatory mechanisms can lead to a multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. Mediators thought to be involved in this syndrome include the major plasma cascade systems (complement, coagulation, and fibrinolytic systems) and soluble cell-derived mediators (cytokines, reactive oxygen species, platelet-activating factor (PAF), arachidonic acid metabolites, and nitric oxide and related compounds). Several findings indicate that among these mediators, PAF may exert an important role in the pathophysiology of septic shock. Evidence is accumulating that in human sepsis this scenario is far more complicated and that removal of inflammatory mediator excess from plasma, rather than blockade of their potentially beneficial local production, might provide a rationale for the use of continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT). There is an emerging view that CRRT should be considered in the light of broader concept (ie, the use of blood purification for the treatment of sepsis). Recent studies, performed in an experimental model of continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration with exogenous PAF, demonstrated that polysulfone membranes can adsorb substantial amounts of biologically active PAF. These studies also showed that the removal of this mediator occurs by a two-step process involving early adsorption followed by ultrafiltration. Although the removal of cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), remains controversial, mainly because of differences in membrane used, operational conditions, and inter- and intra-assay variability, the crucial point is that no evidence has yet been given to show real benefit from CRRT in significantly reducing the plasma concentration of cytokines. The net advantage of CRRT, however, may not only be the removal of cytokines per se, but also the simultaneous elimination of cytokine-inducing substances. Experimental and human studies will be discussed as to whether extracorporeal treatments may remove an excess of circulating cytokines, either by increasing the turnover rate (the so-called high-volume hemofiltration), or by using sorbent systems to regenerate plasma filtrate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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