Background: Infection is the most common postoperative complication within the surgical wound and during severe trauma. In spite of the use of modern sterile techniques and prophylaxis, infection continues to be a leading cause of death in these patients. Therefore, it has become crucial to develop new alternatives to prevent the effects of trauma and other complications on the immune system and improve resistance to infection. The objective of this study was to test the prophylactic effects of oral administration of active hexose correlated compound (AHCC), a natural immunoenhancer, on survival in a mouse model of surgical soft tissue infection.
Methods: The model involves the intramuscular administration of a 50% lethal dose (LD50) of K. pneumoniae to mice that have restricted food intake for 24 hours prior to and six hours after infection and simulates local infection and food deprivation that often occur during trauma or surgical procedures. In the present study, AHCC was administrated orally to Swiss Webster mice for eight days prior to and during the infection period. Survival, time of death, LD50, and clearance of bacteria of this group were compared with those control mice receiving the excipient alone.
Results: Survival and mean time to death were increased significantly in the AHCC-treated group; the LD50 was greater in mice receiving AHCC than in mice receiving the excipient. Mice receiving AHCC were better able to clear bacteria from their systems than were control animals.
Conclusions: The results suggest that AHCC protects mice in this model by restoring the immune and other systems negatively affected by trauma, infection, and food deprivation. More studies are necessary to determine the intrinsic mechanisms involved in this model and whether AHCC can prevent infection or improve survival in human beings with severe trauma or undergoing surgical procedures.