Granulocyte and plasma cytokine activity in acute cadmium intoxication in rats
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Changes in the number and ex vivo function of peripheral blood neutrophils were investigated following intraperitoneal administration of cadmium-chloride in rats. Besides a dose-dependent increase in the number of peripheral blood neutrophils, changes were found in the functional state of isolated polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs). Increased spontaneous adhesion and activation, and TNF activity in a conditioned medium were observed in cultures of granulocytes in comparison to granulocytes from control (saline-treated) animals. Increased levels of plasma activity of inflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) were noted following cadmium administration. Cytological signs of pulmonary inflammation were revealed histologically and the majority of neutrophils recovered from the lungs by enzyme digestion exhibited a capacity of nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) reduction. Our data demonstrate that acute cadmium intoxication leads to a systemic inflammatory response characterized by numerical and functional changes in the granulocyte compartment and to increased levels of inflammation-related cytokine activity in the circulation. Correlations between the increased number of peripheral blood neutrophils and IL-6 plasma activity (r = 0.776, p < 0.00001) and the number of neutrophils recovered from the lung tissue (r = 0.893, p < 0.00001) suggested that systemic cadmium-induced inflammation might be involved in the pulmonary toxicity of cadmium.