Endotoxin-induced acute lung injury and organ dysfunction are attenuated by pentobarbital anaesthesia

Shang Jyh Kao, Chain Fa Su, Demeral D. Liu, Hsing I. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


1. Acute lung injury (ALI) as a result of sepsis is a major cause of mortality. Certain anaesthetic agents have been reported to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines and inducible nitric oxide (NO) synthase (iNOS) activities. We investigated the effects of pentobarbital on ALI and organ functions after the administration of endotoxin. 2. Intravenous (i.v.) pentobarbital (20 or 40 mg/kg) was administered 5 min after lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 10 or 30 mg/kg via i.v. infusion). To avoid hypoxia and/or hypercapnia following anaesthesia, we installed a special chamber connected to a rodent ventilator to provide ventilation with 95% oxygen content and 5% nitrogen. The animal was kept at eucapnic conditions (arterial PCO2 at an average of 38 ± 2 mmHg). 3. We monitored the arterial pressure (AP) and heart rate (HR). Acute lung injury was evaluated by lung weight changes, protein concentration in bronchoalveolar lavage, and Evans blue leakage. Plasma nitrate/nitrite, methyl guanidine and biochemical factors were determined. Pathological and immunofluorescent examinations were performed to observe the lung changes and to determine the activities of pro-inflammatory cytokines, nitrotyrosine and iNOS. 4. Lipopolysaccharide caused dose-dependent systemic hypotension with an increase in the extent of ALI. The lung pathology included oedema and inflammatory cell infiltration. Accompanying the ALI, LPS elevated plasma nitrate/nitrite, methyl guanidine, blood urea nitrogen, lactic dehydrogenase, creatinine phosphokinase, glutamic transaminase and amylase. The lung tissue content of tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin-lβ, iNOS and nitrotyrosine was increased following LPS administration. These changes were abrogated by pentobarbital anaesthesia. 5. Our results indicated that pentobarbital anaesthesia significantly augmented the LPS-induced systemic hypotension. However, it attenuated the LPS-induced ALI and organ dysfunctions. This agent also improved the survival rate following LPS at high and low doses. This mechanism may be related to the inhibitory effects on the increases in the production or activity of NO, free radicals, pro-inflammatory cytokines, nitrotyrosine and iNOS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-487
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


  • Acute lung injury
  • Cytokines
  • Endotoxemia
  • Inducible nitric oxide synthase
  • Nitrotyrosine
  • Pentobarbital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology


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