Sepsis is a systemic inflammatory response induced by an infection, leading to organ dysfunction and mortality. Historically, sepsis-induced organ dysfunction and lethality were attributed to the interplay between inflammatory and antiinflammatory responses. With advances in intensive care management and goal-directed interventions, early sepsis mortality has diminished, only to surge later after “recovery” from acute events, prompting a search for sepsis-induced alterations in immune function. Sepsis is well known to alter innate and adaptive immune responses for sustained periods after clinical “recovery,” with immunosuppression being a prominent example of such alterations. Recent studies have centered on immune-modulatory therapy. These efforts are focused on defining and reversing the persistent immune cell dysfunction that is associated with mortality long after the acute events of sepsis have resolved.
Matthew J. Delano, Peter A. Ward