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Immunotherapy. 2010 Sep;2(5):673-84. doi: 10.2217/imt.10.64.

Role of activin in bacterial infections: a potential target for immunointervention?

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Department of Neurology, University of Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Str. 40, 37075 Göttingen, Germany.


Severe bacterial infections such as sepsis and meningitis still kill or severely injure people despite the use of bactericidal antibiotics. Therefore, new strategies for a better therapy are needed. Activin A, a member of the TGF-β superfamily and its binding protein follistatin (FS) are released by various cell types during acute and chronic inflammatory processes. Until now, a clear definition of conditions in which activin A exerts either its pro- or anti-inflammatory functions is lacking. The activin/FS-system participates in the fine-tuning of the host's inflammatory response upon infectious stimuli. This response is on the one hand necessary for fighting pathogens, but on the other hand can negatively affect the host. This article focuses on the role of activin A and FS in infection and after acute inflammatory stimuli. The therapeutic potentials of blocking or promoting activin actions are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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