Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Unfallchirurg. 2005 Oct;108(10):793-4, 796-803.

[The importance of cytokines in the posttraumatic inflammatory reaction].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Unfallchirurgische Klinik, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover.


Alterations in the immune response after multiple trauma, posttraumatic sepsis and surgery are recognized as physiological reactions of the organism to restore homeostasis. The level of these immunological changes correlates with the degree of tissue damage as well as with the severity of haemorrhage and ischaemia. Cytokines are known to be integral components of this immune response. The local release of pro- and antiinflammatory cytokines after severe trauma indicates their potential to induce systemic immunological alterations. It appears that the balance or imbalance of these different cytokines partly controls the clinical course in these patients. Overproduction of either proinflammatory cytokines or antiinflammatory mediators may result in organ dysfunction. Whereas predominance of the proinflammatory response leads to the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), the antiinflammatory reaction may result in immune suppression with an enhanced risk of infectious complications. Systemic inflammation, as well as immune suppression, are thought to play a decisive role in the development of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). The major proinflammatory cytokines involved in the response to trauma and surgery include tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), IL-6 and IL-8. These cytokines, which are predominantly produced by monocytes and macrophages, mediate a variety of frequently overlapping effects, and their actions can be additive. TNF-alpha and IL-1beta are early regulators of the immune response and both induce the release of secondary cytokines, such as IL-6 and IL-8. IL-10 is an antiinflammatory cytokine which reduces the synthesis of proinflammatory mediators. Other important antiinflammatory mediators are soluble TNF receptors and the IL-1 receptor antagonist, which interfere with the effects of TNF-alpha and IL-1beta.Early evaluation of the prognosis of polytraumatized patients and assessment of their clinical status is known to be difficult. Therefore, in several clinical studies, cytokine levels during the posttraumatic course have been determined with the aim of finding predictive markers of patient outcome. The purpose of this review was to highlight our current knowledge on the interaction of posttraumatic immune reactivity and the development of complications. A better understanding of these mechanisms might lead to the introduction of preventive and therapeutic strategies into clinical practice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk