Cytokine-mediated biological response to severe infections in surgical patients

N. Aikawa, S. Fujishima, Y. Shinozawa, S. Hori

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Cytokines serve to initiate the acute inflammatory response and to integrate nonspecific and specific immunological responses to infections occurring in perioperative patients. Microbial substances induce macrophages to produce pivotal cytokines (TNF-alpha and IL-1 beta). This results in an activation of other cytokine productions including IL-2, IL-3, IL-4, IL-6, chemokines, and IL-10. Also, other host-originated humoral mediators are released from macrophages, neutrophils, platelets, and endothelial cells Various cytokines are also produced by helper-T (Th) cells, and the Th1/Th2 balance is regulated by cytokines and stress hormones. This nonspecific inflammatory response and specific immunological response which are mediated by cytokines are crucial for the host defense against invading pathogens. On the other hand, the blood levels of TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-8, and MIP-1 alpha were correlated with the severity and mortality in patients with sepsis. Also we found that in patients with inhalation injury the high IL-8 levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid on admission predicted the development of respiratory insufficiency. In severe infection, a systemic release of various cytokines is not properly regulated, and the high blood levels of the proinflammatory cytokines cause an autodestructive systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). This condition is termed "Cytokine Storm" by the author. In cytokine storm, not only proinflamamtory cytokines, but also anti-inflammatory cytokines appear in circulating blood, leading to septic shock, multiple organ dysfunction, and immunosuppression. With further understanding of the roles of cytokines in sepsis, modulation of cytokine responses could be a new modality of the treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1054-1059
Number of pages6
JournalNippon Geka Gakkai zasshi
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Dec

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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