Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care

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Inflammation, Sepsis and Multiorgan Dysfunction

InflammationInflammation is part of the characteristic response to tissue injury. While most perioperative inflammation is adaptive, promoting healing and recovery, in some circumstances the process becomes pathological. In addition, prolonged inflammation soon gives way to a prolonged, highly stable but highly abnormal state. This later is characterized by depressed function in nearly all organ systems. The syndrome of excessive inflammation is referred to as either "the Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS)" or "sepsis" while the ensuing depressed organ function is called "the multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS)".

MODS is the most common cause of death in critically ill patients but its pathogenesis and pathobiology are poorly understood. The Stavropoulos Sepsis Research Program, directed by Clifford Deutschman, MD, managed by Nichelle Raj, MS, and funded by a generous gift from Bill and Linda Stavropoulos, is charged with studying mechanisms of regulatory dysfunction in this period in the hope of identifying and examining unique therapeutic approaches.

Cliff Deutschman, MD and Max Kelz, MD, PhD, are generating mice capable of deleting the IL-6 gene in the liver in response to treatment with a protein called Cre Recombinase. This allows for conditional elimination of IL-6 in the liver, which should shed further light on the sepsis-induced defect..

Krzysztof Laudanski, MD, PhD, studies the immunology of sepsis. His research interests focus on post-trauma and post-sepsis immune system dysfunction, with special emphasis on the role of acquired immunity deficits in the long-term outcome of critical care illness.

Alison Perate, MD, an Assistant Professor at CHOP, and Ali Naji, MD, PhD, Professor of Surgery at UPenn, are exploring the effects of sepsis on inflammatory cells called B-lymphocytes. This has been a neglected area in sepsis research and is quite promising.