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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Reduced neutrophil superoxide anion release after prolonged infusions of lidocaine.

Lidocaine is used extensively in coronary care units, yet the effect of lidocaine infusions on neutrophil function has not been known. Lidocaine and other local anesthetics impair leukocyte antibacterial functions when added in vitro. We found that lidocaine added to human neutrophils in vitro markedly impaired the release of superoxide anion (O2-) and the granule enzymes lysozyme and myeloperoxidase after stimulation by phorbol myristate acetate or opsonized zymosan. We then measured production of O2- during stimulation of neutrophils from eight normal subjects, five coronary artery disease patients not receiving lidocaine and 13 coronary artery disease patients receiving lidocaine infusions for at least 12 hr. Release of O2- by cells from lidocaine-treated patients (14.2 +/- 3.8 nmol/2.5 X 10(6) neutrophils per 15 min) was significantly lower than from cells of the normal subjects (78.4 +/- 7.2 nmol; P less than .001) and the coronary patients not receiving lidocaine (70.6 +/- 4.0 nmol; P less than .001). Bactericidal assays at a high concentration (2 mg/ml) of lidocaine demonstrated slight reductions in 2 hr killing rates for Escherichia coli (70% with lidocaine vs. 95% control). Inhibition by lidocaine of the release of toxic oxygen metabolites from neutrophils could potentially reduce infarct size in patients with acute myocardial infarction; but as there is only a slightly reduced ability to kill bacteria, increased susceptibility to infections is unlikely although it cannot be excluded.[1]


  1. Reduced neutrophil superoxide anion release after prolonged infusions of lidocaine. Peck, S.L., Johnston, R.B., Horwitz, L.D. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. (1985) [Pubmed]
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