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VOLUME 26 , ISSUE 1 ( January, 2022 ) > List of Articles

Original Article

Immune Modulation and Cytomegalovirus Reactivation in Sepsis-induced Immunosuppression: A Pilot Study

Gaurav Lambe, Dia Mansukhani, Shanaz Khodaiji, Anjali Shetty, Camilla Rodrigues, Farhad Kapadia

Keywords : Cytomegalovirus reactivation, Interleukin-10, Interleukin-6, Immunosuppression, Programmed death-1, Sepsis, Tregs

Citation Information : Lambe G, Mansukhani D, Khodaiji S, Shetty A, Rodrigues C, Kapadia F. Immune Modulation and Cytomegalovirus Reactivation in Sepsis-induced Immunosuppression: A Pilot Study. Indian J Crit Care Med 2022; 26 (1):53-61.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10071-24079

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 17-01-2022

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2022; The Author(s).


Introduction: Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused due to dysregulated immune response to an infection and progressive immunosuppression. Reactivation of cytomegalovirus (CMV) occurs frequently in sepsis and is found associated with adverse outcomes. The study objective was to evaluate the association between incidence of CMV reactivation and immune alteration in sepsis-induced immunosuppression in patients with prolonged sepsis. Patients and methods: Patients admitted to intensive care unit (ICU), with severe sepsis and CMV immunoglobulin G (IgG) seropositivity, were prospectively enrolled. Other manifest immune suppression causes were excluded. Samples were collected on enrolment and further once a week until day 21 or death/discharge. CMV viral load was quantified using qPCR. Lymphocyte subset analysis (CD3+, CD4+, CD8+, CD19+, CD16+/CD56+, and CD25+CD127− regulatory T cells), human leukocyte antigen-DR isotype (HLA-DR) expression on monocytes, programmed death-1 (PD-1) expression on T lymphocytes, and proinflammatory (interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ)), anti-inflammatory cytokines levels (IL-2, IL-4, and IL-10) were analyzed by flow cytometry as markers for immunosuppression. Results: A total of 25 CMV IgG-positive patients and 11 healthy controls were included. CMV reactivation occurred in 20 patients. Patients with CMV reactivation had T-cell lymphopenia. PD-1 expression on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells was markedly elevated (p <0.02) in CMV-reactivated patients compared to nonreactivated patients. HLA-DR expression was significantly low on monocytes in all septic patients (p <0.01) compared to healthy controls. IL-6 levels showed elevation at day 7, whereas IL-10 was found to be significantly higher from day 0 in CMV-reactivated group. Conclusion: Our study concluded that immune suppression markers and cytokine levels in patients with severe sepsis were found to be significantly associated with the incidence of CMV reactivation.

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