January 8, 2014
Special Focus Issue On Sepsis
A special issue on sepsis has been released by the publisher Landes Bioscience (Austin, TX USA). The articles contained in this special issue of the journal Virulence have been authored by world-class investigators and provide new insights into both the pathogen-related factors and the host defense mechanisms that lead to septic shock and contribute to its resolution or fatal outcome.
Sepsis, or septic shock, is an excessive inflammatory response in answer to a serious infection, most commonly by bacteria, but also fungi, viruses, and parasites. Different microbial components, such as bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), endotoxins, or exotoxins can cause the typical septic inflammatory cascade. The condition can continue even after the infection that caused it is gone. It is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Characteristics of sepsis are massive release of proinflammatory cytokines resulting in tissue damage, an uncontrolled reduction in blood-pressure, multiple organ failure, and death. Sepsis can originate anywhere microbes can gain entry to the body, common sites including the genitourinary tract, the liver and its bile ducts, the gastrointestinal tract, and the lungs. The condition is often life-threatening, especially in people with a weakened immune system or other medical issues.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Opal highlights the importance of this collection of review articles, providing a detailed summary of the current knowledge and science of septic shock research, extending from the molecular to the population level. He writes, "Septic shock continues to pose formidable challenges for emergency room physicians, critical care specialists, surgeons, and infectious disease clinicians alike in caring for these critically ill patients. Early recognition of sepsis and improved therapies to manage the multi-organ dysfunction that frequently follows sepsis pathophysiology remain major unmet medical needs."
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