Effect of indomethacin on resistance to endotoxin shock

J. P. Waymack, L. L. Moldawer, S. F. Lowry, R. F. Guzman, C. V. Okerberg, A. D. Mason, B. A. Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


There is conflicting data on the effect of indomethacin on resistance to sepsis, possibly due to its ability to affect multiple components of the immune system, including physiologic interactions. We examined the effect of indomethacin on resistance to endotoxin shock with special reference to the rate of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) appearance. Seventy-five rats received either 1 ml saline or 4 mg/kg indomethacin every 12 hours commencing 12 hours prior to endotoxin challenge and continuing for 2 days. The mortality rates were 15% for the saline group and 46% for the indomethacin group (P < 0.01). The mean statistical times were 147.7 ± 7.8 and 102.9 ± 12.2 hours, respectively (P < 0.001). Sixty additional rats received either saline or indomethacin at 12 hours and 1 hour prior to endotoxin challenge. Two hours after challenge, plasma was obtained for analysis of TNF levels. The TNF levels for the saline and indomethacin groups were 22.72 ± 0.83 and 21.97 ± 1.28 ng/ml (P = 0.61). In conclusion, indomethacin appears to decrease resistance to endotoxin shock, but not through alterations in the rate of TNF appearance. Administration of indomethacin to septic patients in an attempt to improve immune function may result in endotoxin deaths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-309
Number of pages9
JournalSurgical Research Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Endotoxin shock
  • Immune function
  • Indomethacin
  • Tumor necrosis factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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