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Wichmann and colleagues report that castrated male mice retain normal immunity following resuscitation from hemorrhagic shock, while their sham-operated brothers display significant depression of splenocyte proliferation and of splenocyte IL-2 and IL-3 release. The experiments are well performed and illustrate the complexity of the mechanisms that regulate the immune network. The authors have shown that castrated animals have depressed testosterone levels while retaining normal immune responses. Whether those 2 phenomena are causally related (or, alternatively, whether they are merely epiphenomena) cannot be ascertained from the data shown. It would be interesting to compare female mice "masculinized" by administration of male sex steroids with normal female mice for immune response following shock and resuscitation. It also would be interesting to compare men and women matched for severity of hemorrhagic shock for infectious complications following resuscitation.
Charles B. Huggins, MD, was awarded the Nobel Prize for his description of hormonal therapy of
Buchman TG. Invited Commentary. Arch Surg. 1996;131(11):1192. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1996.01430230074013
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