Systemic complement activation with intravascularly administered cobra venom factor (CVF) or infusion of either zymosan-activated rabbit plasma or a fifth component of complement fragment with anaphylatoxin activity in the rabbit have not caused significant increases in bronchoalveolar lavage albumin in rabbits (Webster, R. O., G. L. Larsen, B. C. Mitchell, A. J. Goins, and P. M. Henson. 1982. Am. Rev. Respir. Dis. 125:335-340). To assess if another stimulus (hypoxia) acting in concert with complement activation can produce significant lung injury, rabbits were challenged with CVF alone, 10 min of 12% oxygen alone, or CVF followed by a 10-min exposure to 12% oxygen. Either stimulus alone caused no significant changes in arterial oxygen, pulmonary resistance, or dynamic compliance during the 240 min of observation after either stimulus, and neither stimulus alone caused increased albumin accumulation in bronchoalveolar lavage over a 30-min period at the end of the experiment. However, the combination of insults significantly altered arterial oxygen, pulmonary resistance, and dynamic compliance while also increasing albumin and neutrophils recovered by lavage. The increase in lavage albumin did not appear to be due to hemodynamic events in that the pulmonary artery pressure increased acutely after CVF infusion and again during the hypoxic exposure, but was normal when albumin accumulation in the lung was measured. Neutrophil depletion with nitrogen mustard abolished all of these changes induced by CVF plus hypoxia. In addition, meclofenamate pretreatment and infusion during the 4-h study abolished the increases in lavage albumin and neutrophils as well as the increase in pulmonary artery pressure after CVF. Meclofenamate pretreatment did not, however, block accumulation of albumin in the lung (interstitium). We conclude that complement activation, as an isolated event, will not cause a significant increase in lavage albumin in this model. However, combining complement activation with an episode of hypoxia will lead to an increase in lavage albumin that is dependent on the presence of neutrophils for its expression. Meclofenamate treatment will prevent increases in lavage albumin and neutrophils while not preventing albumin accumulation in the lung (interstitium), suggesting a product of the cyclooxygenase pathway of arachidonic acid metabolism is needed to produce movement of albumin and/or neutrophils across the alveolar epithelium in this model.
G L Larsen, R O Webster, G S Worthen, R S Gumbay, P M Henson