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Surgeon. 2003 Aug;1(4):187-206.

Surgical sepsis: dysregulation of immune function and therapeutic implications.

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Department of Surgery, Queens Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2UH.


Sepsis is defined clinically as the systemic inflammatory response of the host to the documented systemic infection. The pathophysiological disturbance involves both the innate and adaptive immune systems encompassing cellular immunity, humoral components and the complement system. Dendritic cells (antigen-presenting cells) are key cells involved in the regulation of the immune response in sepsis, in particular in activating T cells and especially inducing the production and secretion of specific cytokines. These are the main mediators in establishing prominent disturbances of inflammation in patients with sepsis. The clinical features of the sepsis syndrome may vary from minor clinical disturbances to severe multiple organ failure and death of the host. Appropriate therapeutic strategies for patients with sepsis utilise conventional therapy and new novel forms of treatment, which are showing promise for the future.

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