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Increased Percentages of T Helper Cells Producing IL-17 and Monocytes Expressing Markers of Alternative Activation in Patients with Sepsis

Abstract

BACKGROUND: A shift from Th1 to Th2 as well as an increase in Treg CD4+T cell subsets has been reported in septic patients (SP). Furthermore, these patients display modulation of monocyte function, with reduced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines upon LPS stimulus, which resembles the phenotype of alternatively activated macrophages. In this study, we evaluated the percentages of T cells differentiated into Th1, Th17 and Treg subsets, as well as the percentage of monocytes expressing markers of alternatively activated monocytes/macrophages (AAM) in SP. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were obtained from 32 healthy volunteers (HV) and from SP at admission (D0, n = 67) and after 7 days of therapy (D7, n = 33). Th1 and Th17 (CD3+CD8-) lymphocytes were identified by the intracellular detection of IFN-γ and IL-17, respectively, spontaneously and after PMA/Io stimulation, and Treg cells were identified by Foxp3+CD127- expression. Monocytes were evaluated for CD206 and CD163 expression. Absolute numbers of CD4+T lymphocytes were measured in whole blood samples by flow cytometry. The Mann-Whitney or Wilcoxon test was applied, as appropriate. The percentage of Th1 cells was lower in SP than in HV at admission after PMA/Io stimulation, whereas the percentage of Th17 cells was higher. In patients' follow-up samples, a higher percentage of Th1 cells and a lower percentage of Th17 cells were observed on D7 compared with the D0 samples. Treg cells remained unchanged. Septic patients showed a markedly increased proportion of monocytes expressing CD163 and CD206. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Upon in vitro stimulus, the percentage of T helper lymphocytes producing IL-17 was higher in SP than in HV at admission, and the percentage producing IFN-γ was lower, a pattern that was reversed during follow-up. The increased expression of CD163 and CD206 indicates that monocytes may acquire the AAM phenotype during sepsis.

Authors: Colo Brunialti MK, Santos MC, Rigato O, Machado FR, Silva E, Salomao R
Journal: PLoS One. ;7(5):e37393
Year: 2012
PubMed: Find in PubMed