Failure of the immune system during blood poisoning (sepsis) can be reversed by a specific sugar. This restores the ability of immune cells to respond effectively to infections.
This week, researchers from Radboud University and Radboudumc published an article on this topic in Cell. These insights can lead to improved treatment of sepsis.
Sepsis is a life threatening complication during infections that occurs when the immune system is unable to gain control of the infection-causing microorganism. Afterwards, the immune system of many sepsis patients (30%-40%) becomes compromised. This can continue for several weeks to several months. As a result, the immune system can no longer respond to new infections, and sepsis patients have a high risk of additional complications and death due to a second infection.
In an article that was published on 17 November in the journal Cell, the molecular biologist Henk Stunnenberg of Radboud University, in cooperation with internist-infectiologist Mihai Netea and other colleagues at Radboudumc, shows that this immune paralysis can be reversed. This is good news for sepsis patients, for whom treatments are currently lacking in efficiency.
In developed countries, each year approximately 2 to 30 people in every 10000 get sepsis. In the Netherlands, an estimated annual 9000 patients are admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with severe sepsis. Sepsis can lead to serious, permanent complications, and 20% of the sepsis patients die in the ICU.
The role of sugars
In the bloodstream, monocytes – a type of white blood cell – play a key role in the defense against infections. Monocytes can become macrophages, which remove harmful invaders. In 2014, the Nijmegen researchers showed that differentiation of monocytes into macrophages can be controlled by the environment. Monocytes that are exposed to a lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a molecule from the outer cell membrane of specific bacteria, mature into macrophages with a greatly reduced capacity to fend off foreign cells. This reflects sepsis-induced immunosuppression. The opposite occurs upon exposure to beta glucan, a sugar found in fungal cell walls.
At the molecular level, Stunnenberg then looked at the epigenetic setting of these different types of macrophages. The epigenome is involved in regulating gene expression; it varies by cell type and person and can change due to nutrition, stress and illness.
As a result, he discovered one of the “control switches” of the immune system that is driven by a sugar, beta-glucan. “By adding beta-glucan to blood samples of trial subjects with a disabled immune system, the macrophages were re-activated”.
Time for a clinical trial
Stunnenberg tested the effects of beta glucan in blood in the laboratory. “A clinical trial with patients is an obvious step for the near future. We could begin with blood samples of people who have been admitted to the ICU with sepsis” says Mihai Netea.
Now that the researchers have an indication of how they can reactivate a disabled immune system, they also hope to determine how they can temper an overactive system. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatism, or inflammatory disorders such as Crohn’s disease, are the result of an overactive immune system.
Learn more: Compromised immune system can be re-activated
The Latest on: Compromised immune system
via Google News
The Latest on: Compromised immune system
- Asia-Pacific Respiratory Syncytial Virus Market: Epidemiology Forecast to 2028 - ResearchAndMarkets.comon November 18, 2019 at 4:04 pm
In preterm and very young infants, the elderly, or those with otherwise compromised immune systems, however, RSV can cause severe illness or death. It has been estimated that up to 30 million episodes ...
- Nuun Hydration Launches Nuun Immunity in Canadaon November 18, 2019 at 10:30 am
Nuun is on a mission to empower more movement. Since the immune system can be compromised through daily exercise, travel, deficient nutrition and sickness Nuun Immunity was developed to restore and ...
- Melbourne researchers find how MAIT cells identify and attack foreign invaderson November 17, 2019 at 8:10 am
While little is known about the exact role MAIT cells play, previous research from the Doherty Institute has shown they provide a layer of protection, which is particularly important if other arms of ...
- 'How immune system gets charged while fighting food poisoning decoded'on November 12, 2019 at 4:13 pm
The researchers, including those from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK, said Salmonella caused food poisoning with symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever, proving ...
- Science in a Minute 110519 Measles Virus Can Wipe Out Immune System Memoryon November 12, 2019 at 4:04 pm
The studies suggest the measles virus can destroy 11% to 73% of the antibodies, created previously by the immune system, that protect against different viral and bacterial infections. This means that ...
- Are Probiotics Safe for Your Immune System?on November 8, 2019 at 1:06 pm
Noreen emailed to ask “Could you do a podcast on probiotic foods that one should avoid if one has a compromised immune system? Is commercial yogurt ok since it’s pasteurized? What about kombucha?
- Measles Can Cause 'Immune Amnesia' According to New Studies—Here's What That Meanson November 1, 2019 at 2:16 pm
The infectious viral disease itself, which manifests as a rash of red spots, fever, cough, and watery eyes, can cause long-term disabilities and can even be fatal, especially in cases of individuals ...
- Research shows brain's immune system gets activated by stress during pregnancyon October 21, 2019 at 1:46 pm
Based on what they already know about compromised brain signaling in rats stressed during ... In unstressed pregnant rats, the normal suppression of the immune system in the body and the brain ...
- School-by-school vaccine data vital to moms of kids with compromised immune systemson October 21, 2019 at 2:14 am
For both mothers, that data is a key tool in their efforts to protect their children. Each has a four-year-old son whose immune system has been compromised by the chemotherapy he has been receiving to ...
via Bing News