Journal of Applied Physiology

Oleic acid lung injury in sheep

M. Julien, J. M. Hoeffel, M. R. Flick


Intravenous infusion of oleic acid into experimental animals causes acute lung injury resulting in pulmonary edema. We investigated the mechanism of oleic acid lung injury in sheep. In experiments with anesthetized and unanesthetized sheep with lung lymph fistulas, we measured pulmonary arterial and left atrial pressures, cardiac output, lung lymph flow, and lymph and plasma protein concentrations. We injured the lungs with intravenous infusions of oleic acid at doses ranging from 0.015 to 0.120 ml/kg. We found that oleic acid caused reproducible dose-related increases in pulmonary arterial pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance, arterial hypoxemia, and increased protein-rich lung lymph flow and extravascular lung water. The lung fluid balance changes were characteristic of increased permeability pulmonary edema. Infusion of the esterified fat triolein had no hemodynamic or lung fluid balance effects. Depletion of leukocytes with a nitrogen mustard or platelets with an antiplatelet serum had no effect on oleic acid lung injury. Treatment of sheep before injury with methylprednisolone 30 mg/kg or ibuprofen 12.5–15.0 mg/kg also had no effects. Unlike other well-characterized sheep lung injuries, injury caused by oleic acid does not require participation of leukocytes.