Immunomodulation in sepsis: the role of endotoxin removal by polymyxin B-immobilized cartridge

Mediators Inflamm. 2013;2013:507539. doi: 10.1155/2013/507539. Epub 2013 Oct 22.


Severe sepsis results in high morbidity and mortality. Immunomodulation strategies could be an adjunctive therapy to treat sepsis. Endotoxin is a component of gram-negative bacteria and plays an important role in the pathogenesis of septic shock when it is recognized by immune cells. Removal of endotoxin could be an effective adjunctive approach to the management of sepsis. Devices to adsorb endotoxin or inflammatory cytokines have been designed as a strategy to treat severe sepsis, especially sepsis caused by gram-negative bacteria. Polymyxin B-immobilized cartridge has been successfully used to treat patients with sepsis of abdominal origin. Although this cartridge was conceived to adsorb endotoxin, several other immunological mechanisms have been elucidated, and this device has also yielded promising results in patients with nonseptic respiratory failure. In this paper, we summarize the immune modulation actions of Polymyxin B-immobilized cartridge to explore its potential usefulness beyond endotoxin elimination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Endotoxins / chemistry
  • Endotoxins / isolation & purification*
  • Equipment Design
  • HMGB1 Protein / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Immunomodulation*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Lipopolysaccharides / chemistry
  • Phenotype
  • Polymyxin B / chemistry
  • Sepsis / blood
  • Sepsis / immunology*
  • Sepsis / therapy*


  • Cytokines
  • Endotoxins
  • HMGB1 Protein
  • HMGB1 protein, human
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Polymyxin B