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Ann Surg. 1990 May;211(5):605-12; discussion 612-3.

Beneficial effect of enhanced macrophage function in the trauma patient.

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  • 1Tulane University, Department of Surgery, New Orleans, LA 70112.


Host immunosuppression after trauma contributes to septic morbidity. The macrophage is a key element in the host immune response. This study evaluated glucan, a macrophage stimulant, in a prospective, randomized, double-blind study of 38 trauma patients undergoing surgery. Glucan (21 patients), 50 mg/m2, or placebo (17 patients) was given intravenously daily for 7 days. Delayed hypersensitivity skin testing was performed on days 1 and 7 after trauma. Serum interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) were assayed after trauma. While the total mortality rate was significantly less in the glucan group (0% versus 29%) (p less than 0.05), the mortality rate from sepsis was not statistically different (0% versus 17.6%). Glucan therapy significantly decreased septic morbidity (9.5% versus 49%; p less than 0.05). Serum IL-1 had a greater increase in glucan patients on day 3 after trauma (143.4 +/- 19.3% versus 78.6 +/- 11.7%; p less than 0.05), but there was no difference thereafter. Serum TNF did not vary between groups. Early increase in IL-1 correlated with subsequent skin test conversion to positive. Neither serum IL-1 nor TNF was a reliable indicator of future sepsis. Further clinical trials are indicated to evaluate biologic response modifiers that activate macrophages in the trauma patient.

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