Sepsis-induced immunosuppression: from cellular dysfunctions to immunotherapy

Nat Rev Immunol. 2013 Dec;13(12):862-74. doi: 10.1038/nri3552. Epub 2013 Nov 15.


Sepsis - which is a severe life-threatening infection with organ dysfunction - initiates a complex interplay of host pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory processes. Sepsis can be considered a race to the death between the pathogens and the host immune system, and it is the proper balance between the often competing pro- and anti-inflammatory pathways that determines the fate of the individual. Although the field of sepsis research has witnessed the failure of many highly touted clinical trials, a better understanding of the pathophysiological basis of the disorder and the mechanisms responsible for the associated pro- and anti-inflammatory responses provides a novel approach for treating this highly lethal condition. Biomarker-guided immunotherapy that is administered to patients at the proper immune phase of sepsis is potentially a major advance in the treatment of sepsis and in the field of infectious disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Immunity, Cellular / immunology*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Mice
  • Models, Animal
  • Sepsis / immunology*
  • Sepsis / therapy*