The abilities of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) and pulmonary alveolar macrophages (PAM), to demonstrate chemotaxis, phagocytosis, and superoxide release after bile duct ligation in the rat were investigated to determine the effect of cholestasis on nonspecific cellular immune mechanisms. Chemotactic response to C(5a) and FMLP, phagocytosis of 14C labeled Staphylococcus aureus, and zymosan-induced superoxide release were evaluated 21 days after bile duct ligation (BDL), sham operation, or in normal controls. Serum total bilirubin level was elevated after BDL (p < 0.01). Chemotactic ability was similar to each group. PMN phagocytic uptake of 14C labeled Staphylococcus aureus was depressed in BDL (p < 0.05). BDL rats exhibited impaired PAM phagocytic indices and improved PMN superoxide release (p < 0.03). PAM superoxide release was similar in each study group. Alterations in phagocytic function with cholestasis are important deficits in nonspecific cellular immunity that may contribute to the high incidence of infective complications associated with obstructive jaundice.
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