The response of the fibrinolytic system to inflammatory mediators in empyema and complicated parapneumonic pleural effusions is still uncertain. We prospectively analysed 100 patients with pleural effusion: 25 with empyema or complicated parapneumonic effusion, 22 with tuberculous effusion, 28 with malignant effusion and 25 with transudate effusion. Inflammatory mediators, tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-8 (IL-8) and polymorphonuclear elastase, were measured in serum and pleural fluid. Fibrinolytic system parameters, plasminogen, tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) and urokinase PA, PA inhibitor type 1 (PAI 1) and PAI type 2 concentrations and PAI 1 activity, were quantified in plasma and pleural fluid. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to compare plasma and pleural values and to compare pleural values according to the aetiology of the effusion. The Pearson correlation coefficient was used to assess the relationship between fibrinolytic and inflammatory markers in pleural fluid. Significant differences were found between pleural and plasma fibrinolytic system levels. Pleural fluid exudates had higher fibrinolytic levels than transudates. Among exudates, tuberculous, empyema and complicated parapneumonic effusions demonstrated higher pleural PAI levels than malignant effusions, whereas t-PA was lowest in empyema and complicated parapneumonic pleural effusions. PAI concentrations correlated with TNF-alpha, IL-8 and polymorphonuclear elastase when all exudative effusions were analysed, but the association was not maintained in empyema and complicated parapneumonic effusions. A negative association found between t-PA and both IL-8 and polymorphonuclear elastase in exudative effusions was strongest in empyema and complicated parapneumonic effusions. Blockage of fibrin clearance in empyema and complicated parapneumonic effusions was associated with both enhanced levels of PAIs and decreased levels of t-PA.
The angiogenesis system has been implicated in inflammatory and neoplastic processes; nevertheless, it has been little studied in relation to the pleural space. Our aim is to analyze pleural and plasma levels of the activators--vascular endothelial growth factor, basic fibroblastic growth factor, and inhibitors--endostatin and thrombospondin-1 and to estimate the association between these factors and related biochemical markers. We analyzed pleural fluid from 105 patients with one of the following types of pleural effusion: empyema or complicated parapneumonic, non-complicated parapneumonic, tuberculous, neoplastic and transudative. Angiogenesis activators were higher in exudates than in transudates (p < 0.001) and in empyema than in non-complicated parapneumonic patients (p < 0.001). Endostatin showed no significant differences. Trombospondin-1 showed higher levels in exudates than in transudates and in empyema than in non-complicated parapneumonic effusions (p < 0.001). In pleural exudates there was a positive correlation of angiogenesis activators and trombospondin-1 with low glucose and pH and high LDH. There was no correlation between pleural and plasma levels of the angiogenesis factors. We conclude that exudative pleural effusions showed higher vascular endothelial growth factor, basic-fibroblastic growth factor and trombospondin-1 values than transudative effusions that associated to low glucose and pH, and high LDH. There was no correlation between pleural and plasma concentrations, suggesting a compartmentalized response.
Background: Polymorphonuclear elastase (PMN-E) is a neutrophilic marker that has been implicated in acute inflammatory responses. Objectives: To evaluate the accuracy of PMN-E in the diagnosis of complicated pyogenic effusions. Patients and Method: We studied 536 patients with pleural effusion of various etiologies. There were 125 pyogenic bacterial effusions (42 typical parapneumonic, 17 borderline complicated parapneumonic and 66 complicated parapneumonic or empyema), 83 tuberculous, 91 malignant, 42 paramalignant, 95 transudates, 28 miscellaneous and 72 effusions of unknown origin. Classic markers (pH, glucose, proteins, adenosine deaminase, LDH, leukocytes and differential count) and the PMN-E level were quantified in pleural fluid. The accuracy of PMN-E as an early marker in the diagnosis of complicated pyogenic infectious effusions was evaluated among pleural effusions that were not diagnosed with classic biochemical markers, radiological findings or Gram stain. Since results of pleural fluid culture and cytological examination are generally available after a 48-hour delay, they were not included as early markers in the initial diagnosis of pleural effusions. Results: Early diagnosis of complicated pyogenic bacterial effusions was achieved in only 48 of 66 cases with classic markers. Among those that were not diagnosed with these parameters, a pleural PMN-E value >3,500 µg/l discriminated between complicated and noncomplicated pyogenic bacterial effusions with a sensitivity of 67% and a specificity of 97%. Conclusions: PMN-E is useful in the early diagnosis and management of complicated pyogenic infectious effusions, which may be delayed with classic markers.
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