The gut microbiome alters immunophenotype and survival from sepsis

I’ve had very similar patients with very similar infections where one was out of the ICU in a short amount of time and the other died in flames. Many variables in play, of course, but you get my point. Could the gut microbiome hold a key regarding which patients do well and which patients don’t in sepsis? My ignorance on the matter is through the roof and my research made me stumble on this gem of a study. I am usually not a fan of mice studies but they have their place in medicine. Here, they showed how mice with almost genetically identical backgrounds who underwent cecal ligation and puncture to make them septic, and had completely different rates of death.

One group obtained from a certain location had a mortality rate of 90% whereas the other group had a mortality rate of 53%. Then they had another group subset where they mixed females of the two groups (bc the males rip each other to shreds) for 3 weeks and then performed the same process. The group with the 90% mortality, after being cohoused, had the same mortality rate as that which had the 53% mortality. That’s absolutely fascinating! Now, the authors admit that there are other factors at play, but they did a ton of fancy genetic and bacterial testing to help explain the differences. I leave it up to them to better explain it. A definite 🎩 tip to them.


Fay KT, Klingensmith NJ, Chen CW, Zhang W, Sun Y, Morrow KN, Liang Z, Burd EM, Ford ML, Coopersmith CM. The gut microbiome alters immunophenotype and survival from sepsis. FASEB J. 2019 Oct;33(10):11258-11269. doi: 10.1096/fj.201802188R. Epub 2019 Jul 15. PMID: 31306584; PMCID: PMC6766641.
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