BACKGROUND: Endothelial hyperpermeability is suggested to play a role in the development of microcirculatory perfusion disturbances and organ failure following hemorrhagic shock, but evidence is limited.
OBJECTIVE: To study the effect of plasma from traumatic hemorrhagic shock patients on in vitro endothelial barrier function.
METHODS: Plasma from traumatic hemorrhagic shock patients was obtained at the emergency department (ED), the intensive care unit (ICU), 24 h after ICU admission and from controls (n = 8). Sublingual microcirculatory perfusion was measured using incident dark field videomicroscopy at matching time points. Using electric cell-substrate impedance sensing, the effects of plasma exposure on in vitro endothelial barrier function of human endothelial cells were assessed.
RESULTS: Plasma from traumatic hemorrhagic shock patients collected at ED admission induced a 19% loss of in vitro endothelial resistance compared to plasma from controls (p < 0.001). This loss was due to reduced cell-cell contacts (p < 0.01). Plasma withdrawn at later time points did not affect endothelial barrier function (p > 0.99). Interestingly, in vitro endothelial resistance showed a positive association with in vivo microcirculatory perfusion (r = 0.56, p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Plasma from traumatic hemorrhagic shock patients obtained following ED admission, but not at later stages, induced in vitro endothelial hyperpermeability. This coincided with in vivo microcirculatory perfusion disturbances.