Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New sepsis discovery goes straight to the heart to save lives

New research in the FASEB Journal suggests that intervening with neutralizing antibodies to C5a or its receptors could prevent development of cardiomyopathy in patients with sepsis

New research published online in The FASEB Journal ( details research in rats and mice that offers hope for stopping the devastating, and often fatal, effects of sepsis in humans. In the study, University of Michigan researchers show how neutralizing the effects of a key protein fragment, called C5a, used by the immune system to attract white blood cells may ultimately prevent heart failure.

"During sepsis, heart failure is a common feature of the later stages of the syndrome," said Peter A. Ward, M.D., a senior scientist involved in the work from the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan Health Systems in Ann Arbor, MI. "The current studies in experimental sepsis suggest that cardiomyocytes interact with the powerful complement-derived C5a anaphylatoxin, resulting in release of cardiosuppressive cytokines that may be linked with defective cardiomyocyte function developing during sepsis."

To make their discovery, Ward and colleagues obtained specialized heart muscle cells, called "cardiomyocytes" (CMs), from normal rats and incubated them in the laboratory with C5a. They found that the cardiomyocyes released specialized immune cells, called cytokines (IL-6 and TNF alpha), in a time-dependent and dose-dependent manner. Sepsis was also induced in mice, and CMs isolated from these mice and examined in vitro. The scientists found that these cells spontaneously released a variety of cytokines, several of which appeared to have the potential to harm the heart. When other mice with beginning stages of sepsis were injected with an antibody to neutralize C5a, the activity of the heart-harming cytokines was reduced. Furthermore, when mice bred to lack receptors for C5a were subjected to sepsis, little or no spontaneous release of cytokines from heart cells occurred.

"Under the best circumstances, sepsis is unpredictable and difficult to treat," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journa1, "It's perhaps the most serious problem in emergency medicine and when sepsis affects the heart it moves from serious to grave. Now that we know that C5a is at least partly responsible, antibodies to C5a promise to get to the heart of the problem."

According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH, Sepsis is a major challenge in the intensive care unit, where it is one of the leading causes of death. It is caused when immune chemicals released into the blood to combat infection trigger widespread inflammation, resulting in impaired blood flow, which damages the body's organs by depriving them of nutrients and oxygen. In the worst cases, the heart weakens and multiple organs—lungs, kidneys, liver—may quickly fail and the patient can die. Each year, severe sepsis strikes about 750,000 Americans, and as many as half die, which is more than the number of U.S. deaths from prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined.

Receive monthly highlights from The FASEB Journal by signing up at or you can "like" the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology on Facebook. The FASEB Journal ( is published by the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2011. Over the past quarter century, the journal has been recognized by the Special Libraries Association as one of the top 100 most influential biomedical journals of the past century and is the most cited biology journal worldwide according to the Institute for Scientific Information.

FASEB comprises 23 societies with more than 100,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. FASEB enhances the ability of scientists and engineers to improve—through their research—the health, well-being and productivity of all people. FASEB's mission is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to our member societies and collaborative advocacy.

Details: Gelareh Atefi, Firas S. Zetoune, Todd J. Herron, José Jalife, Markus Bosmann, Rami Al-Aref, J. Vidya Sarma, and Peter A. Ward. Complement dependency of cardiomyocyte release of mediators during sepsis. FASEB J. doi:10.1096/fj.11-183236 ;

Cody Mooneyhan | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

A new kind of quantum bits in two dimensions

19.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists have a new way to gauge the growth of nanowires

19.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>