Tumor necrosis factor expression is ameliorated after exposure to an acidic environment

Julia Grabowski, Daniel E. Vazquez, Todd Costantini, David M. Cauvi, Wisler Charles, Stephen Bickler, Mark A. Talamini, Virginia L. Vega, Raul Coimbra, Antonio De Maio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: It has been well established that laparoscopic surgery presents several clinical benefits, including reduced pain and a shorter hospital stay. These effects have been associated with a decrease in the inflammatory response. Previous studies have demonstrated that reduced inflammation after laparoscopic surgery is the product of carbon dioxide insufflation, which decreases peritoneal pH. The objective of this study was to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the reduced response after exposure to acidic environments. Materials and Methods: A murine macrophage line (J744) was incubated in culture medium at pH 6.0 or pH 7.4 for 3 h at 37°C. Then, cells were stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) at pH 7.4, the expression of TNF-α (qRT-PCR or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and intracellular pH were measured. In addition, CD14 and Toll-like receptor 4 expression and NF-κB nuclear translocation were analyzed. Results: A significant decrease in LPS-induced TNF-α expression levels was observed in cells pre-incubated at pH 6.0 in comparison with cells at neutral pH conditions. This decrease in TNF-α levels was not associated with a reduction in cell surface expression of CD14 and Toll-like receptor 4. Exposure to an extracellular acidic environment resulted in a reduction of IκB phosphorylation and NF-κB nuclear translocation, secondary to a significant drop in cytosolic pH. Conclusions: These observations provide a potential mechanism for the reduced expression of TNF-α after exposure to low extracellular pH, which may be related to acidification after CO 2 insufflation during laparoscopic surgery. In addition, extracellular acidic pH environments could emerge as an important regulator of macrophage function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • acidic environments
  • cellular pH
  • cytokine
  • inflammation
  • macrophages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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