Objective: The authors sought to determine whether the signs and symptoms of endotoxemia were related to the endotoxin-stimulated increase in circulating phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activity. Background: Because hypotension and pulmonary injury have been associated with elevated PLA2 activity in septic shock and PLA2 levels are reduced with the administration of glucocorticoids, the PLA2 response to endotoxin was investigated in volunteers pretreated with and without hydrocortisone. Methods: Carefully screened human subjects were studied under four conditions: (1) saline, (2) hydrocortisone, (3) endotoxin, and (4) hydrocortisone administration before endotoxin exposure. Pulse rate, blood pressure, temperature, and symptoms of endotoxemia were serially measured. Plasma for tumor necrosis factor concentrations and PLA2 activity was obtained. Results: After lipopolysaccharide, pulse rate and tumor necrosis factor concentrations rose at 1 to 2 hours; temperature increased maximally at 4 hours. PLA2 activity reached peak levels at 24 hours. With hydrocortisone pretreatment, a 50% reduction in the concentrations of tumor necrosis factor and PLA2 occurred. Significant correlations between other variables and PLA2 activity were not observed. The enzyme identified by monoclonal antibody was the secreted nonpancreatic PLA2 (SNP-PLA2). Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that elevations in circulating SNP-PLA2 activity and systemic events associated with intravenous endotoxin administration are unrelated.
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