Blunt chest trauma impairs the outcome of multiply-injured patients. Lung contusion induces inflammatory alterations and Fas-dependent apoptosis of alveolar type 2 epithelial (AT2) cells has been described. The Fas/Fas ligand (FasL) system seems to exhibit a proinflammatory potential. We aimed to elucidate the involvement of the Fas/FasL system in the inflammatory response after lung contusion. Chest trauma was induced in male rats by a pressure wave. Soluble FasL concentrations were determined in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids and alveolar macrophage (AMΦ) supernatants. Alveolar macrophages and AT2 cells were isolated to determine the surface expression (FACS) of Fas/FasL, the mRNA expression (reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction) of Fas, FasL, TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-10 and to measure the release of IL-6 and IL-10 after culture with or without stimulation with FasL. After chest trauma, FasL concentration was increased in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and AMΦ supernatants and Fas and FasL protein were downregulated on AMΦs and unchanged on AT2 cells. The mRNA expression of Fas was increased in AMΦs and AT2 cells and that of FasL only in AMΦs isolated after lung contusion. Fas ligand stimulation further enhanced IL-6 and suppressed IL-10 release in AMΦs after trauma.
The results indicate that the Fas/FasL system is activated after chest trauma, and FasL is associated with the inflammatory response after lung contusion. The proinflammatory response of AMΦs is enhanced by FasL stimulation. Both AMΦs and AT2 cells seem to contribute to the mediator release after lung contusion. These results confirm the importance of the Fas/FasL system in the inflammatory response after chest trauma.