Sepsis-Pathophysiology and Therapeutic Concepts

Front Med (Lausanne). 2021 May 14;8:628302. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.628302. eCollection 2021.


Sepsis is a life-threatening condition and a global disease burden. Today, the heterogeneous syndrome is defined as severe organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection, with renewed emphasis on immune pathophysiology. Despite all efforts of experimental and clinical research during the last three decades, the ability to positively influence course and outcome of the syndrome remains limited. Evidence-based therapy still consists of basic causal and supportive measures, while adjuvant interventions such as blood purification or targeted immunotherapy largely remain without proof of effectiveness so far. With this review, we aim to provide an overview of sepsis immune pathophysiology, to update the choice of therapeutic approaches targeting different immunological mechanisms in the course of sepsis and septic shock, and to call for a paradigm shift from the pathogen to the host response as a potentially more promising angle.

Keywords: immune pathology; inflammation; sepsis; sepsis therapy; septic shock.

Publication types

  • Review