Neuromodulation of innate immunity by remote ischaemic conditioning in humans: Experimental cross-over study.

Journal: Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health

Experimental animal studies on the mechanisms of remote ischaemic conditioning (RIC)-induced cardioprotection against ischaemia/reperfusion injury demonstrate involvement of both neuronal and humoral pathways. Autonomic parasympathetic (vagal) pathways confer organ protection through both direct innervation and/or immunomodulation, but evidence in humans is lacking. During acute inflammation, vagal release of acetylcholine suppresses CD11b expression, a critical β2-integrin regulating neutrophil adhesion to the endothelium and transmigration to sites of injury. Here, we tested the hypothesis that RIC recruits vagal activity in humans and has an anti-inflammatory effect by reducing neutrophil CD11b expression. Participants (age:50 ​± ​19 years; 53% female) underwent ultrasound-guided injection of local anaesthetic within the brachial plexus before applying 3 ​× ​8 min cycles of brachial artery occlusion using a blood pressure cuff (RICblock). RIC was repeated 6 weeks later without brachial plexus block. Masked analysers quantified vagal activity (heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV)) before, and 10 ​min after, the last cycle of RIC. RR-interval increased after RIC (reduced heart rate) by 40 ​ms (95% confidence intervals (95%CI):13-66; n ​= ​17 subjects; P ​= ​0.003). RR-interval did not change after brachial plexus blockade (mean difference: 20 ​ms (95%CI:-11 to 50); P ​= ​0.19). The high-frequency component of HRV was reduced after RICblock, but remained unchanged after RIC (P ​< ​0.001), indicating that RIC preserved vagal activity. LPS-induced CD16+CD11b+ expression in whole blood (measured by flow cytometry) was reduced by RIC (3615 median fluorescence units (95%CI:475-6754); P = 0.026), compared with 2331 units (95%CI:-3921 to 8582); P = 0.726) after RICblock. These data suggest that in humans RIC recruits vagal cardiac and anti-inflammatory mechanisms via ischaemia/reperfusion-induced activation of sensory nerve fibres that innervate the organ undergoing RIC.

Shaun May, Eric Chiang, Anna Reyes, Gladys Martir, Amour Patel, Shamir Karmali, Sanjiv Patel, Simeon West, Ana Del Arroyo, Alexander Gourine, Gareth Ackland