Macrophages play a central role in wound healing after surgical injury possibly through the secretion of soluble factors like interleukin-1 (IL-1). IL-1 has many biological activities which regulate most of the cell types that appear in postsurgical wounds. In this study, we determined the levels of IL-1 production by murine macrophages harvested from postsurgical exudate at several time points after standardized peritoneal surgery. To further characterize the level of functional activities of postsurgical macrophages, the IL-1 levels were determined with or without stimulating the cells with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and phorbol myristate acetate (PMA). After surgery, the number of macrophages harvested by peritoneal lavage increased, reached peak levels on Postsurgical Day 3, and then decreased. IL-1 levels secreted by macrophages cultured without stimuli gradually increased after surgery, reaching peak levels on Day 10. In conditioned media from LPS-PMA-stimulated macrophages, IL-1 levels were significantly greater than in media from unstimulated macrophages and peaked on Postsurgical Day 3. These data suggest that the susceptibility of postsurgical macrophages to stimuli changes during the postsurgical wound healing process. Accordingly, IL-1 may play an important role in the late rather than in the early phase of peritoneal repair.
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