• We examined the responses of primed polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) adhered to vascular endothelium, which can lead to endothelial cell damage as a mechanism of the capillary leak syndrome, the main cause of death in anergic patients. We tested PMNs from (1) preoperative reactive patients, (2) preoperative anergic patients, (3) anergic patients in the surgical intensive care unit, and (4) healthy controls for in vitro adherence and cytotoxicity on cultured human vein endothelial cells. Adherence of PMNs was 12.9%±3.9% in preoperative anergic patients and 13.1%±3.2% in anergic patients in the surgical intensive care unit compared with 9.0%±2.1% in preoperative reactive patients (P<.05). Cytotoxicity was 6.0%±2.8% in preoperative reactive patients, 13.7%±4.1% in preoperative anergic patients, and 14.3%±4.6% in anergic patients in the surgical intensive care unit. The PMNs from preoperative anergic patients were more cytotoxic against human vein endothelial cells when stimulated by Staphylococcus epidermidis or formyl-methionyleucylphenylalanine. We conclude that PMNs from anergic surgical patients adhere more to endothelial cells and can produce increased cytotoxicity that may lead to detrimental results.
(Arch Surg. 1993;128:68-72)