Washington: A new study has suggested that new clues can help in the diagnosis of sepsis as it spreads by blunting the body’s immune response.
Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. It occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight the infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body.
Sepsis can start with a simple infected cut. When the immune system fails to fight off the infection, sepsis occurs when inflammation spreads throughout the body, leaving patients vulnerable to organ damage, severe secondary infections, and death. While time is of the essence, doctors lack quick, efficient ways to diagnose this deadly condition.
Researchers at Columbia University state that the best treatment for sepsis starts with rapid detection. Specific molecules called microRNAs may be potential biomarkers of poor prognosis, indicating the need for more aggressive treatment options.
The research team identified two microRNAs (miR-221 and miR-222) that are produced in immune cells during prolonged inflammation. These microRNAs silence inflammatory gene expression and in a mouse model of sepsis suppress the immune system at a time when the body desperately needs a full immune response.
“When doctors face sepsis in the hospital, it is usually a mystery as to what is causing the infection, but they must act quickly. They can choose to use the broadest spectrum of antibiotics for an aggressive approach to cover every bacterial cause of infection, but this may later cause antibiotic resistance, a growing problem,” said Daniel Freedberg, co-author of the study.
The findings appeared in the Journal of Nature.