Message Number: SG7263 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2004-01-04 03:26:43 UTC
Subject: for all of us who have lost ferrets to sepsis: new study which hopefully will generalize
Message-Id: <>

It won't yet be at the Science News site, but likely will be in a week.
In the January 3, 2004 issue (volume 165) on pages 5 and 6 is an
article titled "Pivotal Protein, inhibiting immune compound slows
sepsis" and the first sentence is "By restraining the action of an
immune system protein that can run amok, scientists experimenting on
mice have reversed the course of severe sepsis, and often fatal blood
infection that shuts down vital organs." It points out that the cause
can be microbial toxins or which set off an immune response that leads
to sepsis, with the body mass-producing inflammatory proteins such as
TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha) and HMGB1 (high-mobility group
box 1). Work by Kevin J. Tracey, a neurosurgeon at North Shore - Long
Island Jewish Research Institute and his team. The inflammatory spiral
appears to be orchestrated by TNF-alpha with HMBG1 possibly damaging
the linings of body cavities, making them leaky, resulting in chemical
imbalance that can hypothetically cause the organ failures which occur.
They set infection up in 36 mice and gave one group antibodies against
HMGB1 and the other group unrelated antibodies. After two weeks the
survival numbers were 13 vs. 5. A later study using a HMGB1 inhibiting
drug called A-box found similar proportions.

There is a note from a Harvard Medical School pulmonologist who says
there seems to be real promise here, but he also points out that sepsis
has multiple ways of killing which differ widely. In some cases
anti-inflammatory proteins can compromise immunity. It may be that
measuring blood concentrations of HMGB1 or genetic profiling may give
an idea when this experimental therapy may work best.

For the full study report: Jan. 6th "Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences".

After losing Chiclet this year we are very glad to see any progress
made in the treatment of sepsis.