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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2000 Jul;279(1):C98-C107.

Antithrombin reduces leukocyte adhesion during chronic endotoxemia by modulation of the cyclooxygenase pathway.

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Department of Surgery, Klinikum Grosshadern, Ludwig-Maximilians University, D-81377 Munich, Germany.


Antithrombin (AT) is known as the most important natural inhibitor of thrombin activity and has been shown to improve distinct clinical parameters during the course of septic (endotoxin)-induced multiple organ dysfunction. We hypothesized that AT acts by inhibiting leukocyte activation and microvascular injury via the promotion of endothelial release of PGI(2), and therefore, we studied the effects of AT on leukocyte/endothelial cell interaction and microvascular perfusion during endotoxemia. In a skinfold preparation of Syrian hamsters, severe endotoxemia was induced by repeated administration of endotoxin intravenously [lipopolysaccharide (LPS), Escherichia coli, 2 mg/kg] at 0 and 48 h. AT (250 IU/kg) was administered intravenously at 0, 24, and 48 h (n = 6, AT group). In control animals (n = 5, control), LPS was given without AT supplementation. By intravital fluorescence microscopy, leukocyte-endothelial cell interaction and functional capillary density (FCD; measure of capillary perfusion) were analyzed during a 72-h period after the first LPS injection. AT significantly attenuated LPS-induced arteriolar and venular leukocyte adherence after both the first and the second LPS injection [P < 0.01, measures analysis of variance (MANOVA)]. In parallel, AT was effective in preventing LPS-induced depression of FCD after the first and the second LPS administration (P < 0.05, MANOVA). By pretreatment with the cyclooxygenase inhibitor indomethacin (n = 6), effects of AT on leukocyte adherence and FCD were found completely abolished. Thus our study indicates that AT exerts its beneficial effects in endotoxemia by reducing leukocyte-endothelial cell interaction and microvascular perfusion failure probably via liberation of prostacyclin from endothelial cells.

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