The effect of trauma on neutrophil L-selectin expression and sL-selectin serum levels

Andreas Seekamp, Martijn Van Griensven, Frank Hildebrandt, Nicole Brauer, Marianne Jochum, Michael Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Among identified adhesion molecules, the L-selectin on neutrophils enables the first step of leukocyte adherence to activated endothelial cells. To allow firm adhesion of neutrophils, L-selectin is then split off the cell membrane. It was hypothetized that an increase of the constitutively high serum level of soluble L-selectin may indicate an ongoing pathological neutrophil sequestration to the endothelial cells associated with activation and injury of the cells. To evaluate this hypothesis, sL-selectin serum levels and neutrophil L-selectin expression of healthy volunteers (group A, n = 15), as well as of surgical patients, were investigated. Group B (n = 26) included patients subjected to elective limb surgery (mean operation time, 122 min), and group C (n = 45) comprised trauma patients. sL-selectin serum levels were measured daily over a 14-day period. Neutrophil L-selectin expression was evaluated by FACS analysis using the humanized anti-L-selectin antibody HuDreg 55 over a period of 3 days at minimum in both experimental groups. The binding of sL-selectin to endothelial cells was also examined in vitro. Elective limb surgery resulted in lower pre-and post-operative sL-selectin plasma levels (800-1,000ng/mL) compared to healthy volunteers (1,100-1,200ng/mL) with insignificant changes throughout the study period. Trauma patients revealed even lower sL-selectin levels (400-600ng/ mL). When these patients were discriminated by the multiple organ dysfunction (MOD) score of Moore in +MOD (n = 9, ISS = 31.7) and -MOD (n = 36, ISS = 25.0), a significant difference became evident. In +MOD patients sL-selectin levels remained on a low basis of 350 ng/mL, whereas in -MOD patients the initial low sL-selectin level subsequently rose to 800 ng/mL, similar to that of elective surgery patients. FACS analysis revealed a significant drop in neutrophil L-selectin expression 24 h after trauma compared to normal. Also, +MOD and -MOD patients were significantly discriminated by the L-selectin expression at this time. The in vitro studies revealed evidence for binding of sL-selectin to endothelial cells independently on the presence of neutrophils. According to our data, increasing severity of the post-operative/post-traumatic course is associated with decreasing sL-selectin serum levels and also reduced neutrophil L-selectin expression. In view of the in vitro results, this probably indicates competitive enhanced binding of sL-selectin to endothelial cells, thus masking the elevated activation of neutrophils and their ability for endothelial adherence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-260
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2001


  • Denver score
  • Elective surgery
  • Endothelial cells
  • L-selectin
  • Multiple organ failure
  • Trauma


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