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Crit Care. 2019 Nov 13;23(1):355. doi: 10.1186/s13054-019-2628-x.

Myeloid-derived suppressor cell function and epigenetic expression evolves over time after surgical sepsis.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, Shands Hospital, University of Florida College of Medicine, Room 6116, 1600 SW Archer Road, Gainesville, FL, 32610-0019, USA.
2
Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA.
3
Department of Biostatistics, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA.
4
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA.
5
Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA.
6
Department of Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA.
7
Department of Surgery, Shands Hospital, University of Florida College of Medicine, Room 6116, 1600 SW Archer Road, Gainesville, FL, 32610-0019, USA. philip.efron@surgery.ufl.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Sepsis is an increasingly significant challenge throughout the world as one of the major causes of patient morbidity and mortality. Central to the host immunologic response to sepsis is the increase in circulating myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), which have been demonstrated to be present and independently associated with poor long-term clinical outcomes. MDSCs are plastic cells and potentially modifiable, particularly through epigenetic interventions. The objective of this study was to determine how the suppressive phenotype of MDSCs evolves after sepsis in surgical ICU patients, as well as to identify epigenetic differences in MDSCs that may explain these changes.

METHODS:

Circulating MDSCs from 267 survivors of surgical sepsis were phenotyped at various intervals over 6 weeks, and highly enriched MDSCs from 23 of these samples were co-cultured with CD3/CD28-stimulated autologous T cells. microRNA expression from enriched MDSCs was also identified.

RESULTS:

We observed that MDSC numbers remain significantly elevated in hospitalized sepsis survivors for at least 6 weeks after their infection. However, only MDSCs obtained at and beyond 14 days post-sepsis significantly suppressed T lymphocyte proliferation and IL-2 production. These same MDSCs displayed unique epigenetic (miRNA) expression patterns compared to earlier time points.

CONCLUSIONS:

We conclude that in sepsis survivors, immature myeloid cell numbers are increased but the immune suppressive function specific to MDSCs develops over time, and this is associated with a specific epigenome. These findings may explain the chronic and persistent immune suppression seen in these subjects.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02276417.

KEYWORDS:

Epigenetics; Human; Immunosuppression; Myeloid-derived suppressor cells; Sepsis; Surgery; miRNA

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