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Amitriptyline Treatment Mitigates Sepsis-Induced Tumor Necrosis Factor Expression and Coagulopathy

Xia, Brent T.*; Beckmann, Nadine*; Winer, Leah K.*; Kim, Young*; Goetzman, Holly S.*; Veile, Rosalie E.*; Gulbins, Erich*,†; Goodman, Michael D.*; Nomellini, Vanessa*; Caldwell, Charles C.*

doi: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000001146
Basic Science Aspects
Editor's Choice

ABSTRACT During sepsis, the early innate response and inflammatory cytokine cascade are associated with activation of the coagulation cascade. Acute hypercoagulability can contribute to lethal sequela of vascular thrombosis, tissue ischemia, and organ failure. We investigated if amitriptyline (AMIT), an antidepressant drug with a number of anti-inflammatory effects, could ameliorate sepsis in a murine model of sepsis—cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). We hypothesized that AMIT treatment would reduce inflammation and mitigate sepsis-induced coagulopathy. Coagulation was measured using thromboelastometry and ferric chloride-induced carotid artery thrombosis. Our findings demonstrate a dynamic early hypercoagulability, followed by delayed hypocoagulability in septic mice. However, septic mice treated with AMIT were unaffected by these coagulation changes and exhibited a coagulation profile similar to sham mice. TNFα was markedly elevated in septic mice, but decreased in AMIT-treated mice. Exogenous administration of recombinant TNFα in naive mice recapitulated the acute sepsis-induced hypercoagulability profile. After sepsis and endotoxemia, peritoneal macrophages were the predominant source of TNFα expression. AMIT treatment significantly decreased macrophage TNFα expression and blunted M1 polarization. Altogether, during polymicrobial sepsis, AMIT treatment suppressed macrophage TNFα expression and the M1 phenotype, mitigating an initial hypercoagulable state, and protecting septic mice from delayed hypocoagulability. We propose that AMIT treatment is a promising therapeutic approach in the treatment of sepsis-associated coagulopathy and prevention of acute thromboembolic events or delayed bleeding complications.

*Division of Research, Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

Department of Molecular Biology, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany

Address reprint requests to Charles C. Caldwell, PhD, Division of Research, Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 231 Albert Sabin Way, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0558. E-mail:

Received 7 July, 2017

Revised 21 July, 2017

Accepted 23 March, 2018

This work was presented at the 40th Annual Shock Society Conference, on June 5, 2017. The first author was selected to receive a Travel Award.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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© 2019 by the Shock Society