The depression of interleukin-2 synthesis represents a major dysfunction within the cascade of immunologic defects induced by mechanical and thermal trauma. This study was undertaken to elucidate the negative control mechanisms that were responsible for the deficiency of IL-2 production in polytraumatized patients. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC's) from 29 patients (average age, 35.8 years; average ISS, 35) were separated on post-trauma days 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 14, and 21 and cultured as untreated cells (C), cells treated with indomethacin (C + INDO), and cells depleted of adherent cells (C-AC). Cell cultures were assayed for proliferative responses to PHA, IL-2 synthesis, PGE2 production, γ-interferon levels, and phenotyping studies.
On all days post-trauma there was found a marked reduction of IL-2 production compared to controls with a highly significant nadir from day 5 to day 10 with an almost 80% inhibition of IL-2 (p < 0.005). C + INDO cells showed increases of IL-2 synthesis over untreated cells ranging from 48% (Day 1) to 220% (Day 7). Removal of adherent cells (C-AC) did not reverse the suppression of IL-2 production. γ-interferon levels were depressed in parallel with IL-2 levels but did not increase with C + INDO. The phenotyping of the PBMC's showed highly significant suppression of OKT3+, OKT4+, and IL-2R+ lymphocytes as well as a highly significant elevation of the monocyte (p < 0.005) count. There was a highly significant increase of PGE2 synthesis from monocytes, due to the monocytosis and to a higher capacity of synthesis of the individual cells following trauma. PGE2 levels peaked on Day 5 and 7 post-trauma at 400% of control (p < 0.005).
These data suggest that the suppression of IL-2 synthesis post trauma is caused mainly by two factors: the excessive PGE2 output of inhibitory monocytes and inadequate function in immature and/or blocked lymphocytes.
The partial restoration of IL-2 synthesis by indomethacin suggests that blockade of the cyclo-oxygenase pathway as an immunomodulating therapy may reverse some of the immunologic abnormalities in multiple trauma patients.
© Williams & Wilkins 1987. All Rights Reserved.