Metoclopramide: A novel and safe immunomodulating agent for restoring the depressed macrophage immune function after hemorrhage

René Zellweger, Matthias W. Wichmann, Alfred Ayala, Irshad H. Chaudry

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Objective: Recent studies have shown that administration of the anterior pituitary hormone, prolactin, after hemorrhage restored the depressed immune responses that are observed under those conditions. Because metoclopramide (MCP) is known to increase prolactin secretion and ultimately plasma prolactin levels, we attempted to determine whether administration of metoclopramide after hemorrhage produces any beneficial effects on the depressed splenocyte and peritoneal macrophage immune function after severe hemorrhage. Design, Materials and Methods: Mice were bled to and maintained at a mean arterial pressure of 35 mm Hg for 60 minutes, then adequately resuscitated and segregated into two groups. One group received saline vehicle; animals in the other group were treated with metoclopramide (100 μg/100 g body weight, subcutaneously) before resuscitation. Two hours after saline or MCP injection, the animals were killed and macrophage as well as splenocyte cultures established. Plasma corticosterone levels were also measured. Results: The proliferative capacity of the splenocytes as well as their ability to release interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-3 in response to mitogen was markedly improved in animals that had hemorrhaged and that were treated with MCP compared with saline-injected mice. Moreover, the depressed splenic and peritoneal macrophage IL-1 and IL-6 release after hemorrhage was restored with MCP treatment. Furthermore, treatment with MCP prevented the increase in blood corticosterone levels seen after severe hemorrhage. Conclusion: These results support the concept that the immunosuppression after hemorrhage may be mediated by hormones from the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Furthermore, MCP may be a useful adjuvant in the treatment of the traumahemorrhagic shock-induced immunosuppression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-77
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Corticosterone
  • Hemorrhage resuscitation
  • IL- 1
  • IL-2
  • IL-3
  • IL-6
  • Macrophages
  • Metoclopramide
  • Splenocyte proliferation
  • Splenocytes


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