• Polymorphonuclear neutrophil leukocytes (PMNs) are known to cross the alveolar-capillary barrier and enter the alveolus in acute adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The pathogenic role of PMNs in both the acute lung injury and subsequent infectious susceptibility in ARDS is not clear. In the present study we investigated the functional status of various neutrophil populations using a chronic, endotoxemiainduced ARDS model. Rats infused with Escherichia coli endotoxin for three days develop an acute lung injury with a histologic picture closely resembling human ARDS. The PMNs recovered from the circulation and by bronchoalveolar lavage were compared with normal rat PMNs. In endotoxemic animals, superoxide production was markedly enhanced in circulating PMNs, indicating production of high levels of potentially cytotoxic oxygen intermediates, while myeloperoxidase activity was decreased in both circulating and lavage PMNs, indicating depressed myeloperoxidase-dependent antimicrobial activity.
(Arch Surg 1987;122:197-203)