Editors' ChoiceImmunology

A new therapeutic target for sepsis

Sci. Signal.  17 Mar 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 368, pp. ec62
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aab1182

Infections can sometimes unleash powerful immune responses that careen out of control, leading to sepsis, organ failure, and death. Although antibiotics can help to quash the infection, sepsis patients also need therapies that will rein in the immune response. Weber et al. now identify one potential target, the secreted protein interleukin-3 (IL-3) (see the Perspective by Hotchkiss and Sherwood). In sepsis patients, higher serum concentrations of IL-3 were correlated with higher rates of mortality. In septic mice, IL-3 caused the immune system to produce large amounts of cells called monocytes and neutrophils, which secrete highly inflammatory proteins. Blocking IL-3 protected mice from sepsis-induced death.

G. F. Weber, B. G. Chousterman, S. He, A. M. Fenn, M. Nairz, A. Anzai, T. Brenner, F. Uhle, Y. Iwamoto, C. S. Robbins, L. Noiret, S. L. Maier, T. Zönnchen, N. N. Rahbari, S. Schölch, A. Klotzsche-von Ameln, T. Chavakis, J. Weitz, S. Hofer, M. A. Weigand, M. Nahrendorf, R. Weissleder, F. K. Swirski, Interleukin-3 amplifies acute inflammation and is a potential therapeutic target in sepsis. Science 347, 1260–1265 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]

R. S. Hotchkiss, E. R. Sherwood, Getting sepsis therapy right. Science 347, 1201–1202 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]