• Low levels of plasma fibronectin (PFN), an adhesive glycoprotein postulated to augment reticuloendothelial function, can predispose animals to a poor clinical outcome following sepsis. In the present study, the PFN levels of adult male rats were measured prior to injection of intraperitoneal Escherichia coli and/or stroma-free hemoglobin (SFH) and subsequently at 4, 24, and 48 hours. Intraperitoneal E coli alone elicited insignificant PFN level depression at four hours, with significantly elevated levels only in the high-dose group at 24 (P<.05) and 48 hours (P<.01). Intraperitoneal SFH alone did not alter PFN levels from baseline values; when combined with E coli significant four-hour level depression is noted (P<.05). Elevation of PFN levels by 24 hours occurs in a dose-dependent fashion, returning to baseline values 48 hours postinoculation. Significant mortality was observed only with high doses of E coli combined with SFH. The PFN levels are elevated 24 to 48 hours following high-dose E coli injection. Stroma-free hemoglobin alone has no effect, but when combined with E coli results in PFN level depression four hours postinoculation, contributing to impairment of systemic host defenses and possibly predisposing to greater mortality.
(Arch Surg 1985;120:142-145)