Background: Tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) is a key mediator of fibrinolysis. Matching of pulmonary perfusion and ventilation is a critical denominator of oxygenation in acute lung injury (ALI). This study investigates pulmonary venoarterial plasma tPA gradients in association with acute ALI induced by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and endotoxinemia (ETX). Methods: Twenty-one anaesthetized, ventilated pigs were allocated to control (CTRL, n=5), bronchoalveolar saline lavage (BAL, n=8) or infusion of Escherichia coli endotoxin (ETX, n=8). Total tPA was analyzed in plasma (ELISA calibrated for porcine tPA). The inflammatory response was assessed by TNFa levels (ELISA). All variables were assessed at baseline and 2 h following ALI. Results: Bronchoalveolar lavage and ETX induced similar increases in pulmonary shunt whereas pulmonary vascular resistance was significantly more increased in ETX animals. Cardiac output remained stable in BAL animals but decreased in ETX animals. The pulmonary venoarterial tPA plasma gradient increased in ETX animals, yielding a positive pulmonary net flux of tPA, which was absent in BAL animals. TNFα levels increased in ETX, but not in BAL, animals. A significant correlation was observed between TNFα and tPA plasma levels in ETX animals. All variables remained unchanged in CTRL animals. Conclusion: Plasma changes of tPA levels support a pulmonary release of tPA in early experimental ALI induced by acute ETX but not lavage, and are related to the inflammatory response. Despite increased vascular fibrinolytic capacity in ETX animals, pulmonary dysfunction was not different from BAL animals. The results demonstrate the close relation between inflammation and coagulation in early ALI.
- Acute lung injury
- Tissue-type plaminogen activator