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J Leukoc Biol. 2008 Mar;83(3):523-35. Epub 2007 Oct 3.

Regulatory T cell populations in sepsis and trauma.

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  • 1Division of Surgical Research, Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University, 593 Eddy Street, Providence, RI 02903, USA.


Sepsis syndrome remains the leading cause of mortality in intensive care units. It is now believed that along with the body's hyperinflammatory response designated to eliminate the underlying pathogen, mechanisms are initiated to control this initial response, which can become deleterious and result in immune dysfunctions and death. A similar state of immune suppression has been described after numerous forms of severe trauma/injury. Although the evidence for immune dysfunctions after sepsis has grown, much remains to be understood about mechanisms underpinning its development and how it acts to increase the morbid state of the critically ill patient. In this context, although the majority of clinical and basic science conducted so far has focused on the roles of myeloid cell populations, the contribution of T lymphocytes and in particular, of regulatory T cells has been somewhat ignored. The studies presented here support the concept that regulatory T lymphocytes (CD4+CD25+ regulatory, gammadelta, and NK T cells) play a role in the control of immune responses and are affected by injury and sepsis. This may be related to their capacity to interact with components of the innate and adaptive immune responses and to their ability to be activated nonspecifically by bacterial products and/or cytokines and to regulate through direct cell-cell and/or soluble mediators. It is our hope that a better understanding of the mechanism through which those rare lymphocyte subsets exert such a profound effect on the immune response may help in improving our ability not only to diagnose but also to treat the critically ill individual.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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