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Hypothermia affects the phagocytic activity of rat peritoneal macrophages

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Abstract:

To examine the effect of hypothermia on the phagocytic capacity of rat peritoneal macrophages for latex particles, male Wistar rats were exposed to 4 °C for 8 and 72 h. While the shorter exposure to cold did not affect body temperature and macrophage function, animals exposed to 4 °C for 72 h showed a mean decrease of their body temperature by 1.5 °C. The superoxide anion production was significantly increased whereas the number of phagocytic cells decreased. In addition, the mean number of latex particles engulfed by each individual cell was lower than that of controls. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of these animals showed lower mitogen response to phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), while that for concanavalin A (Con-A) remained unchanged. Peritoneal macrophages exposed in vitro to 24 °C for 60 min showed a decreased phagocytic capacity in comparison with macrophages kept at 37 °C, an observation suggesting the development of an indigenous cell defect for phagocytosis at lower temperatures. On the other hand, the effect of additional humoral factor(s) on macrophage activity, such as an increase in serum level of catecholamines and corticosterone, cannot be excluded. The results of the study may contribute to understanding the predisposition to infections during exposure to cold.

Keywords: hypothermia; macrophages; phagocytosis

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-201x.2000.00686.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Medicine ‘C’, Rabin Medical Center, Golda Campus (Hasharon), Petah Tiqva and the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel 2: The Laboratory for Haematology Research, Rabin Medical Center, Golda Campus (Hasharon), Petah Tiqva and the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel 3: Department of Anesthesia, Rabin Medical Center, Golda Campus (Hasharon), Petah Tiqva and the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Publication date: 2000-03-01

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