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
- Henry Ford Health System administers Michigan’s first COVID-19 vaccine trial doseson August 5, 2020 at 12:08 pm
The Detroit-based hospital system is the only facility in the state taking part in Moderna’s Phase 3 vaccine trial.
- Area man with compromised immune system not taking any risks with covid-19on July 31, 2020 at 8:09 pm
A national survey estimates seven million Americans have a compromised immune system – normally a challenging diagnosis, but even worse with coronavirus risks. Mike ...
- How will B.C.’s return to school plan impact immune-compromised studentson July 29, 2020 at 3:52 pm
Global BC reporter Keith Baldrey asks what a Stage 2 return to school will look like for B.C. kids with immune-compromised or serious health conditions. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and ...
- Henry Ford Health System only Mich. hospital chosen for COVID vaccine trialon July 29, 2020 at 3:52 am
The National Institutes of Health announced the Henry Ford Health System is the only Michigan hospital chosen as a Phase 3 trial site for the Moderna mRNA-1273 Coronavirus Efficacy (COVE) vaccine ...
- Pennington researchers explore obesity and immune response to COVID-19on July 27, 2020 at 7:00 pm
Pennington Biomedical Research Center scientists think a hormone that is elevated in overweight people could explain why COVID-19 is very dangerous for individuals who are obese.
- Back to school: where each Tri-State school system stands on reopeningon July 27, 2020 at 11:59 am
We’re just a couple of weeks away from the first day of school for many students in the Tri-State. All of the school districts in our are have released their re-opening plans, but caution ...
- Covid-19 pandemic: The gig economy has compromised our immune systemon July 26, 2020 at 6:46 am
What does the devastation wrought by Covid-19 tell us about the underlying pathologies of our own culture and time? It’s hard to escape one common factor in multiple outbreaks. Again and again, ...
- Byron Keilers is fearless when fighting fires, cautious when it comes to immune-compromised sonon July 26, 2020 at 4:00 am
It’s been stressful,” firefighter Byron Keillor says. “I don’t want to catch the virus and bring it home to our little one. I don’t want to expose him to it.” ...
- The Gig Economy Compromised Our Immune Systemon July 25, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Epidemics exploit the weak spots of the societies they erupt in. Covid-19 went for the low-paid who couldn’t work from home.
via Bing News