Multiple organ failure: whole body inflammation?

Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1989 Mar 18;119(11):347-53.


Inventarising the inflammatory capacities of the three types of inflammatory cells, PMN, macrophages and mast cells, each type seems able to induce a lethal whole body reaction. This whole body inflammation has hitherto largely escaped our attention, as in clinical studies inappropriate methods have been used such as counting peripheral leucocytes, and as monitoring key-mediators (IL-1, TNF, PGE-2, leukotrienes) and key-cells (activated PMN, macrophages and mast cells) hitherto was impossible. Presently a new set of methods is available, allowing a closer look at this whole body inflammation, such as elastase (monitoring PMN activity), neopterin (monitoring macrophage activity) and hopefully clinically practicable methods to monitor cytokines as well as endotoxin-levels. Only after such comprehensive studies have been performed, it might be concluded that--as in the experimental animal--sepsis and MOF may not necessarily be caused by bacteria or their endotoxins, but by an untoward autodestructive and self-sustaining activation of angry leucocytes and mad macrophages.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Complement Activation
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Multiple Organ Failure / physiopathology*