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Trends Mol Med. 2014 Apr;20(4):214-23. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2013.08.004. Epub 2013 Sep 18.

Redefining the gut as the motor of critical illness.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery and Emory Center for Critical Care, Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.
2
Department of Surgery and Emory Center for Critical Care, Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. Electronic address: cmcoop3@emory.edu.

Abstract

The gut is hypothesized to play a central role in the progression of sepsis and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. Critical illness alters gut integrity by increasing epithelial apoptosis and permeability and by decreasing epithelial proliferation and mucus integrity. Additionally, toxic gut-derived lymph induces distant organ injury. Although the endogenous microflora ordinarily exist in a symbiotic relationship with the gut epithelium, severe physiological insults alter this relationship, leading to induction of virulence factors in the microbiome, which, in turn, can perpetuate or worsen critical illness. This review highlights newly discovered ways in which the gut acts as the motor that perpetuates the systemic inflammatory response in critical illness.

KEYWORDS:

critical illness intestine; epithelium; gut; microbiome; sepsis

PMID:
24055446
PMCID:
PMC3959633
DOI:
10.1016/j.molmed.2013.08.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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