• Zymosan was administered intravenously in graded doses to Sprague-Dawley rats to investigate the hemodynamic effects of systemic complement activation. At two hours, thermodilution cardiac output, mean arterial pressure, heart rate, systemic vascular resistance, hematocrit, effective hepatic and renal blood flows, and percent change in total hemolytic complement activity were measured on all animals. Progressively increasing doses of zymosan produced characteristic hemodynamic changes of progressively deteriorating stages of hyperdynamic sepsis. In addition, complement activation resulted in a redistribution of systemic blood flow with hepatic hypoperfusion similar to that seen in sepsis. Renal blood flow was unaffected early after complement activation. Additional rats were studied from the control and a representative zymosan-treated group at 24 and 48 hours to determine if the hemodynamic changes observed at two hours persisted or resolved. All systemic hemodynamic measures returned to normal at both 24 and 48 hours. Liver blood flow, however, remained depressed and actually deteriorated overtime. Renal perfusion, which was stable at both two and 24 hours, fell below control values in the zymosan-treated group at 48 hours. We conclude that complement may be a mediator of both systemic and visceral flow abnormalities that precede, and perhaps precipitate, organ failure in trauma and sepsis.
(Arch Surg 1988;123:316-321)