The number of leukocytes rolling along the venular endothelium of the vascular network of the internal spermatic fascia was determined in nondiabetic control rats and diabetic rats with television microscopy. A marked decrease in the number of rolling cells was observed in animals rendered diabetic by the injection of alloxan 10, 30, or 180 days before relative to matching controls. Blood leukocyte counts, however, were equivalent in both control and diabetic rats. Under the influence of a local inflammatory stimulus, cells emerged into the perivascular tissue in control animals, and this was accompanied by a reduction in the number of rolling leukocytes. In diabetic rats, the number of rolling leukocytes remained unaltered, and only a few cells accumulated in the connective tissue adjacent to the vessel. Reversal of the defective leukocyte-endothelial interaction was attained by treatment of diabetic animals with insulin. Inhibitors of arachidonic acid metabolism were ineffective to improve leukocyte-endothelial interactions in diabetic animals. Control rats injected intravenously with lyophilized plasma constituents, obtained after dialysis of diabetic rat plasma with 12,000-M retention dialysis tubing, behaved as diabetic animals in that they exhibited a reduced number of leukocytes rolling along the venular endothelium. In contrast, material obtained from control rat plasma produced no effect. Heating of active samples for 1 h at 56°C degrees C resulted in the complete loss of the inhibitory effect. We conclude that a substance or substances present in diabetic plasma induce a defective leukocyte-endothelial interaction that further impairs resistance to infection.

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