Scientists discover new method to restore function of white blood cells in septic patients

December 1, 2016, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

New research findings published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, suggest that treating the white blood cells of sepsis patients with antibodies that block programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and programmed cell death ligand (PD-L1) molecules may restore their function and ultimately their ability to eradicate deadly bacteria.

"We hope that this study will lead to a better understanding of why patients with are often unable to successfully eradicate invading microorganisms," said author Andriani C. Patera, Ph.D. "Furthermore, we hope that this study will stimulate new therapies to treat sepsis based on stimulating various components of the immune system."

To make their discovery scientists conducted a prospective study in which blood from patients with life-threatening infections was obtained and white blood cells were tested for their ability to and control bacterial infection. The white blood cells from patients with sepsis were compared to from who did not have infections. White blood cells from the patients with sepsis were severely impaired compared to non-septic patients, and PD-1 and PD-L1 were identified as key mechanisms responsible for white blood cell impairment.

"There is increasing evidence for in sepsis. Immune dysfunction is now therapeutically correctable by targeting PD-1 in chronic diseases such as cancer and chronic infections," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "These new data highlight the potential opportunity to treat a devastating acute and rapidly progressing inflammatory disease with an approach learned and tested in humans in immune oncology."

Explore further: Compromised immune system can be re-activated

More information: A. C. Patera et al, Frontline Science: Defects in immune function in patients with sepsis are associated with PD-1 or PD-L1 expression and can be restored by antibodies targeting PD-1 or PD-L1, Journal of Leukocyte Biology (2016). DOI: 10.1189/jlb.4HI0616-255R

Related Stories

Compromised immune system can be re-activated

November 18, 2016
Failure of the immune system during blood poisoning (sepsis) can be reversed by a specific sugar. This restores the ability of immune cells to respond effectively to infections. This week, researchers from Radboud University ...

Confronted with sepsis, key immune mechanism breaks, scientists find

July 28, 2016
When the body encounters an infection, a molecular signaling system ramps up the body's infection-fighting system to produce more white blood cells to attack invading bacteria. Now researchers have discovered that when facing ...

Keeping cells in shape to fight sepsis

August 8, 2016
Boosting levels of a protein that controls the shape and activity of a crucial group of white blood cells improves survival and recovery chances during sepsis.

Immune system kill switch could be target for chemotherapy and infection recovery

December 6, 2012
Researchers have discovered an immune system 'kill switch' that destroys blood stem cells when the body is under severe stress, such as that induced by chemotherapy and systemic infections.

How white blood cells jump into action in response to foreign microbes

September 21, 2016
Pro-inflammatory molecules in the blood are essential for fighting off microbial invaders. But too much of these immune-signaling factors, and the body can go into septic shock. A team from the A*STAR Singapore Immunology ...

Immune study shows how gut keeps deadly infections at bay

March 17, 2016
Treatment and prevention of life-threatening infections could be improved by research that reveals how bacteria are kept in check.

Recommended for you

Western diet depletes artery-protecting immune cells

March 21, 2018
New research from scientists at the La Jolla Institute For Allergy and Immunology shows how a diet high in fat and cholesterol depletes the ranks of artery-protecting immune cells, turning them into promoters of inflammation, ...

Mumps resurgence likely due to waning vaccine-derived immunity

March 21, 2018
A resurgence of mumps in the U.S. among vaccinated young adults appears to be due to waning of vaccine-induced immunity, according to a new analysis from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Researchers found that vaccine-derived ...

Quintupling inhaler medication may not prevent asthma attacks in children

March 19, 2018
Children with mild to moderate asthma do not benefit from a common practice of increasing their inhaled steroids at the first signs of an asthma exacerbation, according to clinical trial results published in The New England ...

How allergens trigger asthma attacks

March 19, 2018
A team of Inserm and CNRS researchers from the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology have identified a protein that acts like a sensor detecting allergens in the respiratory tract that are responsible for asthma ...

Single steroid-bronchodilator treatment for control and rescue improves persistent asthma

March 19, 2018
When it comes to treating teens and adults with persistent asthma, using a single corticosteroid and long-acting bronchodilator treatment for both daily asthma control and for rescue relief during sudden asthma attacks is ...

Obesity and health problems: New research on a safeguard mechanism

March 16, 2018
Obesity and its negative impacts on health - including metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular complications - are a global pandemic (Taubes, 2009). The worldwide incidence of obesity has more than ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.