TNF-α and the pathophysiology of endotoxin-induced acute respiratory failure in sheep

Sandra Z. Perkowski, Peter J. Sloane, James A. Spath, Ted H. Elsasser, Jill K. Fisher, Marlys H. Gee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We studied changes in cardiovascular and pulmonary function during prolonged endotoxemia in conscious sheep. Sheep with chronic lung lymph fistulas received a 12-h infusion of Escherichia coli endotoxin (10 ng · kg-1 · min-1) and allowed to recover for 12 h. Supportive therapies were withheld. Prolonged endotoxemia without volume support caused systemic hypotension associated with reduced cardiac output and increased systemic vascular resistance, pulmonary hypertension, and acute lung injury with progressive respiratory failure. Plasma tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) concentrations increased transiently. Sustained pulmonary hypertension and increased pulmonary and systemic vascular resistances contributed to a poor outcome in 9 of 34 sheep (126%). Plasma TNF-α concentrations were significantly greater in survivors with sustained pulmonary hypertension and in nonsurviving sheep than in surviving sheep without pulmonary hypertension. Endotoxin (1 ng/ml) increased neutrophil expression of TNF-α in vitro. Addition of interleukin-6 prevented this response. Synthesis and release of TNF-α may be an important proximal event influencing the development of sustained pulmonary hypertension and progressive respiratory failure with endotoxemia. Interleukin-6 may contribute to the phasic nature of the TNF-α response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)564-573
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1996


  • acute lung injury
  • endotoxemia
  • interleukin-6
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • tumor necrosis factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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