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Neutrophil function in severe sepsis.

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Departamento de Farmacologia, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Bandeirantes 3900, Monte Alegre, 14049-900 Ribeirão Preto SP, Brazil.


Sepsis and septic shock continue to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. During the onset of sepsis, several inflammatory mediators, including cytokines, chemokines and nitric oxide are released systemically and mediate most of the pathophysiological events present in sepsis and septic shock, such as cardiovascular dysfunction and target-organ lesions. Polymorphonuclear leukocytes are critical effector cells during the inflammatory process and their migration to the infection focus is extremely important for the local control of bacterial growth and consequently for the prevention of bacterial dissemination. In experimental models and in human sepsis a profound failure of neutrophil migration to the infection focus is observed. It seems that the failure of neutrophil migration is dependent on toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and mediated by cytokines and chemokines, which induce the production of nitric oxide that inhibits neutrophil adhesion to venular endothelium and also the neutrophil chemotactic ability.

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