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December 1998

The Pivotal Role of Adrenomedullin in Producing Hyperdynamic Circulation During the Early Stage of Sepsis

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Surgical Research and Department of Surgery, Brown University School of Medicine and Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI.

Arch Surg. 1998;133(12):1298-1304. doi:10.1001/archsurg.133.12.1298

Background  Initial cardiovascular responses during sepsis are characterized by hyperdynamic circulation. Although studies have shown that a novel potent vasodilatory peptide, adrenomedullin (ADM), is up-regulated under such conditions, it remains unknown whether ADM is responsible for initiating the hyperdynamic response.

Objective  To determine whether increased ADM release during early sepsis plays any major role in producing hyperdynamic circulation.

Design, Intervention, and Main Outcome Measure  Synthetic rat ADM (8.5 µg/kg of body weight) was infused intravenously in normal rats for 15 minutes at a constant rate. Cardiac output, stroke volume, and microvascular blood flow in various organs were determined immediately as well as 30 minutes after ADM infusion. At 30 minutes after infusion, plasma ADM level was also measured. In additional groups, rats were subjected to sepsis by cecal ligation and puncture. At 1.5 hours after cecal ligation and puncture, specific anti–rat ADM antibodies were infused, which completely neutralized the circulating ADM. Various hemodynamic variables were measured 5 hours after cecal ligation and puncture (ie, the early stage of sepsis).

Results  Cardiac output, stroke volume, and microvascular blood flow in the liver, small intestine, kidney, and spleen increased, and total peripheral resistance decreased 0 and 30 minutes after ADM infusion. In addition, plasma levels of ADM increased from the preinfusion level of 92.7±5.3 to 691.1±28.2 pg/mL 30 minutes after ADM infusion, which was similar to ADM levels observed during early sepsis. Moreover, 5 hours after the onset of sepsis, cardiac output, stroke volume, and microvascular blood flow in various organs increased and total peripheral resistance decreased. Administration of anti-ADM antibodies, however, prevented the occurrence of the hyperdynamic response.

Conclusions  The results suggest that increased ADM production and/or release plays a major role in producing hyperdynamic responses during early sepsis. Since our previous studies have shown that vascular responsiveness to ADM decreases in late sepsis, maintenance of ADM vascular responsiveness by pharmacological agents during the course of sepsis may prevent transition from the hyperdynamic to the hypodynamic state.