Peritoneal cavity lavage reduces the presence of mitochondrial damage associated molecular patterns in open abdomen patients

Patricia A. Martinez-Quinones, Cameron G. McCarthy, Caleb J. Mentzer, Camilla F. Wenceslau, Steven B. Holsten, R. Clinton Webb, Keith O'Malley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND Mitochondrial damage-associated molecular patterns (mtDAMPs), such as mitochondrial DNA and N-formylated peptides, are endogenous molecules released from tissue after traumatic injury. mtDAMPs are potent activators of the innate immune system. They have similarities with bacteria, which allow mtDAMPs to interact with the same pattern recognition receptors and mediate the development of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). Current recommendations for management of an open abdomen include returning to the operating room every 48 hours for peritoneal cavity lavage until definitive procedure. These patients are often critically ill and develop SIRS. We hypothesized that mitochondrial DAMPs are present in the peritoneal cavity fluid in this setting, and that they accumulate in the interval between washouts. METHODS We conducted a prospective pilot study of critically ill adult patients undergoing open abdomen management in the surgical and trauma intensive care units. Peritoneal fluid was collected daily from 10 open abdomen patients. Specimens were analyzed via quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), via enzyme immunoassay for DNAse activity and via Western blot analysis for the ND6 subunit of the NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase, an N-formylated peptide. RESULTS We observed a reduction in the expression of ND6 the day after lavage of the peritoneal cavity, that was statistically different from the days with no lavage (% change in ND6 expression, postoperative from washout: -50 ± 11 vs. no washout day, 42 ± 9; p < 0.05). Contrary to expectation, the mtDNA levels remained relatively constant from sample to sample. We then hypothesized that DNAse present in the effluent may be degrading mtDNA. CONCLUSION These results indicate that the peritoneal cavity irrigation reduces the presence of mitochondrial DAMPs in the open abdomen. It is possible that increased frequency of peritoneal cavity lavage may lead to decreased systemic absorption of mtDAMPs, thereby reducing the risk of SIRS. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Prospective study, Case Series, Level V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1062-1065
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Trauma
  • mtDAMPs
  • open abdomen
  • sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Peritoneal cavity lavage reduces the presence of mitochondrial damage associated molecular patterns in open abdomen patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this