Exp Lung Res
Background: Acute lung injury (ALI) is a significant source of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. Age is a major determinant of clinical outcome in ALI. The increased ALI-associated mortality in the older population suggests that there are age-dependent alterations in the responses to pulmonary challenge. The objective of this observational study was to evaluate age-dependent differences in the acute (within 6 hours) immunological and physiological responses of the heart and lung, to pulmonary challenge, that could result in increased severity. Methods: Male C57Bl/6 mice (young: 2-3 months, old: 18-20 months) were challenged intratracheally with cell wall components from Gram-positive bacteria (lipoteichoic acid and peptidoglycan). After 6 hours, both biochemical and physiological consequences of the challenge were assessed. Alveolar infiltration of inflammatory cells and protein, airspace and blood cytokines, cardiac function and myocardial proteasome activity were determined. Results: In young mice, there was a dose-dependent response to pulmonary challenge resulting in increased airspace neutrophil counts, lung permeability, and concentrations of cytokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and plasma. A midrange dose was then selected to compare the responses in young and old animals. In comparison, the old animals displayed increased neutrophil accumulation in the airspaces, decreased arterial oxygen saturation, body temperatures, plasma cytokine concentrations, and a lack of myocardial proteasome response, following challenge. Conclusions: Age-dependent differences in the onset of systemic response and in maintenance of vital functions, including temperature control, oxygen saturation, and myocardial proteasome activation, are evident. We believe a better understanding of these age-related consequences of ALI can lead to more appropriate treatments in the elderly patient population.
Faculty; Northwell Researcher
School of Medicine; Northwell Health
General Internal Medicine; Surgery; Science Education