N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine improves survival in a pig model of abdominal sepsis

O A Strand, A M Leone, K E Giercksky, E Skovlund, K A Kirkebøen
Critical Care Medicine 1998, 26 (9): 1490-9

OBJECTIVE: To test the effect of a continuous infusion of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) on survival rate and hemodynamics in a pig model of endogenous peritoneal live bacterial sepsis.

DESIGN: Prospective, randomized trial.

SETTING: Laboratory at a university medical center.

SUBJECTS: Thirty-five pigs with an average weight of 26 kg (range 21 to 33).

INTERVENTIONS: After surgical preparation, animals (control, n=6) given anesthesia and fluids were observed for 9 hrs. Fifteen experimental animals received 0.5 g of cecal content/kg of body weight intraperitoneally after surgery. Nine of these animals received standard anesthesia and fluids and were observed for 9 hrs or until death. Six animals received a continuous infusion of L-NMMA (10 mg/kg/hr) 3 hrs after sepsis induction. Starting 3 hrs after surgery, five nonrandomized animals were given anesthesia and fluids and received a 6-hr continuous infusion of L-NMMA (10 mg/kg/hr). An additional nine animals were anesthetized and blood samples were taken to determine plasma nitrate concentrations in nonoperated pigs.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: L-NMMA treatment increased 9-hr survival in septic animals from 11% to 83% (p < .001), prevented a further decrease in mean arterial pressure and restored mean arterial pressure to control levels (p < .00002 vs. nontreated septic animals). Mean pulmonary arterial pressure increased slightly during L-NMMA infusion (p < .0003). Coronary blood flow was preserved during L-NMMA treatment. Cardiac index and urine production reached and maintained control levels during L-NMMA treatment of septic animals. Mean central venous pH did not deteriorate during L-NMMA treatment. Animals treated with L-NMMA had plasma nitrate concentrations similar to nonseptic control animals. The results from the nonseptic control group receiving L-NMMA suggest that a substantial part of the effect of L-NMMA in this model of septic shock may be due to inhibition of the constitutive nitric oxide production.

CONCLUSIONS: In this porcine model of peritoneal sepsis, infusion of L-NMMA increased survival rate and maintained mean arterial pressure without worsening tissue oxygenation. Coronary blood flow, cardiac index, systemic vascular resistance, and urine production were well maintained during L-NMMA treatment.

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