• Neutrophils (polymorphonuclear leukocytes [PMNs]) are thought to contribute to the pathophysiology of adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) by the release of toxic oxygen metabolites. This study investigated superoxide production by circulating and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) PMNs in a rat model of ARDS induced by chronic Escherichia coli (lipopolysaccharide) endotoxemia. Superoxide production was stimulated by fmet-leu-phe, opsonized zymosan, and phorbol myristate acetate. Circulating and BAL PMNs from lipopolysaccharide-infused rats compared with PMNs from control rats are primed for nonselective increased superoxide production. The BAL PMNs are not only partially primed to release superoxide on adherence, they concomitantly have a depressed superoxide response to a phagocytic (opsonized zymosan) stimulus. These PMN responses may partially explain both the pulmonary injury and the increased susceptibility to pulmonary infection seen in patients with ARDS.
(Arch Surg 1988;123:1491-1495)