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J Clin Invest. 1998 Jun 15;101(12):2768-79.

Hypertonicity regulates the function of human neutrophils by modulating chemoattractant receptor signaling and activating mitogen-activated protein kinase p38.

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University of California San Diego, Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma, San Diego, California 92103, USA.


Excessive neutrophil activation causes posttraumatic complications, which may be reduced with hypertonic saline (HS) resuscitation. We tested if this is because of modulated neutrophil function by HS. Clinically relevant hypertonicity (10-25 mM) suppressed degranulation and superoxide formation in response to fMLP and blocked the activation of the mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPK) ERK1/2 and p38, but did not affect Ca2+ mobilization. HS did not suppress oxidative burst in response to phorbol myristate acetate (PMA). This indicates that HS suppresses neutrophil function by intercepting signal pathways upstream of or apart from PKC. HS activated p38 by itself and enhanced degranulation in response to PKC activation. This enhancement was reduced by inhibition of p38 with SB203580, suggesting that p38 up-regulation participates in HS-induced enhancements of degranulation. HS had similar effects on the degranulation of cells that were previously stimulated with fMLP, but had no effect on its own, suggesting that HS enhancement of degranulation requires another signal. We conclude that depending on other stimuli, HS can suppress neutrophil activation by intercepting multiple receptor signals or augment degranulation by enhancing p38 signaling. In patients HS resuscitation may reduce posttraumatic complications by preventing neutrophil activation via chemotactic factors released during reperfusion.

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