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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Major upper gastrointestinal surgery is associated with an antigen-dependent proinflammatory T cell response.

BACKGROUND: T cells play a central role in the immune response to injury. Oesophageal and pancreatic resections are associated with significant risk of systemic inflammatory response syndrome and sepsis. This study involved a detailed analysis of T cell function in a consecutive cohort of patients undergoing such surgery. METHODS: Twenty-five patients undergoing major oncological upper gastrointestinal surgery were investigated for T cell expression of Fas and the activation markers CD69 and CD25, as well as interleukin (IL) 2, IL-10 and interferon (IFN) gamma responses to stimulation with staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB). T cell activation in healthy volunteer peripheral blood mononuclear cells was studied in co-culture with patients' serum, either alone or with cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen (CTLA) 4, an inhibitor of antigen presentation. RESULTS: T cells expressed significantly raised levels of CD69 and CD25 after surgery, but no change in Fas expression was evident. There was a significant increase in the production of IL-2 after surgery without a concomitant increase in IFN-gamma or IL-10 in response to SEB. Postoperative serum activated healthy volunteer T cells, a response that was inhibited (P = 0.053) by co-incubation with CTLA-4. CONCLUSION: Major surgery results in pan-T cell activation via a serum-mediated antigenic mechanism that is independent of Fas expression. Postoperative T cells are primed for an augmented proinflammatory response to superantigen, sustained for at least 1 week, implicating the adaptive immune system in the development of the postoperative systemic immunoinflammatory state.[1]


  1. Major upper gastrointestinal surgery is associated with an antigen-dependent proinflammatory T cell response. Sweeney, K.J., Kell, M.R., Ravi, N., Reynolds, J.V. The British journal of surgery. (2005) [Pubmed]
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