Molecular Medicine

, Volume 14, Issue 1–2, pp 64–78 | Cite as

Monitoring Immune Dysfunctions in the Septic Patient: A New Skin for the Old Ceremony

  • Guillaume Monneret
  • Fabienne Venet
  • Alexandre Pachot
  • Alain Lepape
Review Article


Septic syndromes represent a major although largely underrecognized healthcare problem worldwide, accounting for thousands of deaths every year. It is now agreed that sepsis deeply perturbs immune homeostasis by inducing an initial tremendous systemic inflammatory response which is accompanied by an anti-inflammatory process, acting as negative feedback. This compensatory inhibitory response secondly becomes deleterious as nearly all immune functions are compromised. These alterations might be directly responsible for worsening outcome, as they may play a major role in the decreased resistance to nosocomial infections in patients who survived initial resuscitation. Consequently, immunostimulatory therapies may now be assessed for the treatment of sepsis. This review focuses on immune dysfunctions described in septic patients and on their potential use as markers on a routine standardized basis for prediction of adverse outcome or of occurrence of secondary nosocomial infections. This constitutes a prerequisite to a staging system for individualized treatment for these hitherto deadly syndromes.



This review does not represent an exhaustive listing of studies aimed at monitoring immunological functions in the critically ill patient. We sincerely apologize for works not cited in this manuscript. G.M. thanks all the Immunology Laboratory staff at Hôpital E. Herriot for constant support over the years. None of the authors has any potential financial conflict of interest related to this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Feinstein Institute for Medical Research 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guillaume Monneret
    • 1
    • 5
  • Fabienne Venet
    • 2
  • Alexandre Pachot
    • 3
  • Alain Lepape
    • 4
  1. 1.Hospices civils de Lyon, Immunology laboratoryHopital E. HerriotLyonFrance
  2. 2.Division of Surgical ResearchRhode Island Hospital/Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Joint Unit Hospices Civils de Lyon-bioMérieuxHôpital Edouard HerriotLyonFrance
  4. 4.Hospices civils de Lyon, Centre Hospitalier Lyon-SudIntensive Care UnitLyonFrance
  5. 5.Flow Cytometry Unit, Immunology LaboratoryHôpital E. HerriotLyon cedex 03France

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