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February 6, 1967


JAMA. 1967;199(6):419-420. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120060117025

Neither range of physiological functions nor the anatomical limits of the reticuloendothelial system are as yet precisely defined. Therefore, reports of reticuloendothelial function in man are of considerable interest. Wagner and associates1 have observed that reticuloendothelial function is increased in patients with bacterial infections and impaired in viral infections. A more recent communication in the Archives of Surgery2 reports that the functional capacity of the reticuloendothelial system was impaired in patients undergoing surgical procedures of varying magnitude.

The observation of depression of the functional capacity of the reticuloendothelial system in association with surgery is worthy of note, particularly if the data which have accumulated regarding reticuloendothelial function in the laboratory animal should be applicable to man. When reticuloendothelial function is impaired in the experimental animal, the induction of shock is enhanced, response to bacterial challenge is impaired, and "takes" of inoculated tumor cells are increased. Thus in man depression of