Amitriptyline reduces inflammation and mortality in a murine model of sepsis

Brent T. Xia, Nadine Beckmann, Leah K. Winer, Amanda M. Pugh, Timothy A. Pritts, Vanessa Nomellini, Erich Gulbins, Charles C. Caldwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background/Aims:Duringsepsis,anuncheckedpro-inflammatoryresponsecanbedetrimental to the host. We investigated the potential protective effect of amitriptyline (AT). Methods: We used two murine models of sepsis: Cecal ligation and puncture and endotoxemia following LPS challenge. Aural temperatures were taken and cytokines quantified by cytometric bead assay. Lung injury was determined histologically and by protein determination in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Cell accumulation in the peritoneum was analyzed by flow cytometry, as well as cytokine production and p38-phosphorylation. Neutrophil chemotaxis was evaluated using an in vitro transwell assay. Results: Our findings demonstrate that AT-treated septic mice have improved survival and are protected from pulmonary edema. Treatment with AT significantly decreased serum levels of KC and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, as well as the accumulation of neutrophils and monocytes in the peritoneum of septic mice. Peritoneal IL-10 levels in septic mice were increased upon AT treatment. Direct treatment of septic mice with IL-10 recapitulated the effects of AT. Endotoxemic mice also exhibited enhanced IL-10 production upon AT-administration and peritoneal macrophages were identified as the AT-influenced producers of IL-10. Treatment of these cells with AT in vitro resulted in increased p38-phosphorylation and IL-10 generation, whereas ceramide and p38 inhibition had the opposite effect. Conclusion: Altogether, AT treatment improved survival, increased IL-10 levels, and mitigated a pro-inflammatory response during sepsis. We conclude that AT is a promising therapeutic to temper inflammation during septic shock.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-579
Number of pages15
JournalCellular Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Amitriptyline
  • IL-10
  • Macrophage
  • P38
  • Sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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