Cecal Ligation and Puncture-Induced Murine Sepsis Does Not Cause Lung Injury

Objective: The cause of death in murine models of sepsis remains unclear. The primary purpose of this study was to determine if significant lung injury develops in mice predicted to die after cecal ligation and puncture-induced sepsis compared with those predicted to live. Design: Prospective, laboratory controlled experiments. Setting: University research laboratory. Subjects: Adult, female, outbred Institute of Cancer Research mice. Interventions: Mice underwent cecal ligation and puncture to induce sepsis. Two groups of mice were euthanized at 24 and 48 hrs postcecal ligation and puncture and samples were collected. These mice were further stratified into groups predicted to die (Die-P) and predicted to live (Live-P) based on plasma interleukin-6 levels obtained 24 hrs postcecal ligation and puncture. Multiple measures of lung inflammation and lung injury were quantified in these two groups. Results from a group of mice receiving intratracheal normal saline without surgical intervention were also included as a negative control. As a positive control, bacterial pneumonia was induced with Pseudomonas aeruginosa to cause definitive lung injury. Separate mice were followed for survival until Day 28 postcecal ligation and puncture. These mice were used to verify the interleukin-6 cutoffs for survival prediction. Measurements and Main Results: After sepsis, both the Die-P and Live-P mice had significantly suppressed measures of respiratory physiology but maintained normal levels of arterial oxygen saturation. Bronchoalveolar lavage levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines were not elevated in the Die-P mice compared with the Live-P. In addition, there was no increase in the recruitment of neutrophils to the lung, pulmonary vascular permeability, or histological evidence of damage. In contrast, all of these pulmonary injury and inflammatory parameters were increased in mice with Pseudomonas pneumonia. Conclusions: These data demonstrate that mice predicted to die during sepsis have no significant lung injury. In murine intra-abdominal sepsis, pulmonary injury cannot be considered the etiology of death in the acute phase.