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December 21, 2011

Immunosuppression in Sepsis

JAMA. 2011;306(23):2618-2619. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1831

Abundant evidence exists in both animals and humans with sepsis for the appearance of a “cytokine storm,” characterized by high plasma levels of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines,1 clinical signs of fever, tachycardia, and tachypnea and followed rapidly by development of shock, multiorgan failure, and death.2 Additional evidence indicates that sepsis can be associated with a state of immunosuppression, broadly defined as lymphopenia and loss of immune function, though the timing, incidence, and nature of the immunosuppression remain poorly characterized, especially in humans.3