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Crit Care. 2013 May 11;17(3):R85. doi: 10.1186/cc12711.

Blockade of the negative co-stimulatory molecules PD-1 and CTLA-4 improves survival in primary and secondary fungal sepsis.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Fungal sepsis is an increasingly common problem in intensive care unit patients.Mortality from fungal sepsis remains high despite antimicrobial therapy that is highly active against most fungal pathogens, a finding consistent with defective host immunity that is present in many patients with disseminated fungemia.One recently recognized immunologic defect that occurs in patients with sepsis is T cell "exhaustion" due to increased expression of programmed cell death -1 (PD-1).This study tested the ability of anti-PD-1 and anti-programmed cell death ligand -1 (anti-PD-L1) antagonistic antibodies to improve survival and reverse sepsis-induced immunosuppression in two mouse models of fungal sepsis.

METHODS:

Fungal sepsis was induced in mice using two different models of infection, that is, primary fungal sepsis and secondary fungal sepsis occurring after sub-lethal cecal ligation and puncture (CLP).Anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 were administered 24 to 48 h after fungal infection and effects on survival, interferon gamma production, and MHC II expression were examined.

RESULTS:

Anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 antibodies were highly effective at improving survival in primary and secondary fungal sepsis.Both antibodies reversed sepsis-induced suppression of interferon gamma and increased expression of MHC II on antigen presenting cells.Blockade of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4), a second negative co-stimulatory molecule that is up-regulated in sepsis and acts like PD-1 to suppress T cell function, also improved survival in fungal sepsis.

CONCLUSIONS:

Immuno-adjuvant therapy with anti-PD-1, anti-PD-L1 and anti-CTLA-4 antibodies reverse sepsis-induced immunosuppression and improve survival in fungal sepsis.The present results are consistent with previous studies showing that blockade of PD-1 and CTLA-4 improves survival in bacterial sepsis.Thus, immuno-adjuvant therapy represents a novel approach to sepsis and may have broad applicability in the disorder.Given the relative safety of anti-PD-1 antibody in cancer clinical trials to date, therapy with anti-PD-1 in patients with life-threatening sepsis who have demonstrable immunosuppression should be strongly considered.

Comment in

PMID:
23663657
PMCID:
PMC3706819
DOI:
10.1186/cc12711
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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