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Semin Nephrol. 1993 Jul;13(4):409-15.

White blood cell response to burn injury.

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Department of Surgery, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock 79430.


Multiple sites of decreased immune response have been discovered, but the instigation of this diffuse immunosuppression remains a matter of much debate. Several investigators have observed immunosuppressive affects of low-molecular weight peptides found in the serum of burn and trauma patients. These substances have been termed suppressive active peptides (SAP). Current research is also focusing on the intricate connection between stress hormones and neurotransmitters, in which there exist a complex information channel between the immune, endocrine, and central nervous systems. It is becoming clear that immune homeostasis may require regulatory influence via immunocompetent cells, along with influences from the central nervous system and a balanced endocrine environment. In fact, macrophages, lymphocytes, and neutrophils contain receptors for many hormones including corticosteroids, insulin, growth hormone, catecholamines, acetylcholine, and endorphins. The dramatic alteration in the hormonal milieu after injury may play a significant role in immunocompetence. Attempts to modulate specific defects in the immune system have been unsuccessful to date. Our goal, to decrease the risk of infection in burn patients, therefore, is meticulous supportive care. This includes not only reducing the risk of invading bacteria, but also increasing the patient's resistance to overall infection. The cornerstone of this support is to restore mechanical barrier function to as near normal as possible. Immediately after injury, vigorous wound management includes several daily debridements combined with wound protection using an appropriate topical antimicrobial substance.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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