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Infect Immun. 1999 Dec;67(12):6603-10.

Immunopathologic alterations in murine models of sepsis of increasing severity.

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Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0602, USA.


We investigated inflammatory and physiologic parameters in sepsis models of increasing lethality induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). Mice received imipenem for antibiotic therapy, and groups were sacrificed at 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 h after CLP. The severity of sepsis increased with needle puncture size (lethality with 18-gauge puncture [18G], 100%; 21G, 50%; 25G, 5%; sham treatment, 0%). While the temperature (at 12 h) and the activity and diurnal rhythm (at day 4) of the 25G-treated CLP group recovered to normal, the 21G and 18G treatment groups exhibited severe hypothermia along with decreased activities. A direct correlation was also observed between the severity of sepsis and cytokine (interleukin 1beta [IL-1beta], tumor necrosis factor [TNF], IL-6, and IL-10) concentrations in both the peritoneum and the plasma. There were substantially higher cytokine levels in the more severe CLP models than in the sham-treated one. Peritoneal and plasma TNF levels were always less than 40 pg/ml in all models. None of the cytokines in the septic mice peaked within the first hour, which is in contrast to the results of most endotoxin models. Chemokine (KC and macrophage inflammatory protein 2) profiles also correlated with the severity of sepsis. Except for the chemokines, levels of inflammatory mediators were always higher at the site of inflammation (peritoneum) than in the circulation. Our study demonstrated that sepsis of increasing severity induced increased cytokine levels both within the local environment (peritoneum) and systemically (plasma), which in turn correlated with morbidity and mortality.

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