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Failure to launch an adequate immune response may be at the root of septic shock, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine on Dec. 17.
Bacterial sepsis is a potentially deadly blood infection that results in massive immune activation and inflammation. Sepsis therapies have traditionally focused on quelling this exaggerated inflammatory response. But a recent study challenged this approach by showing that patients with sepsis had abnormally low levels of an inflammatory protein called LECT2.
The new study by Jiong Chen and colleagues at Ningbo University in China shows that low LECT2 levels are indeed detrimental. Injecting LECT2 into septic mice promoted bacterial clearance by immune cells called macrophages and increased their production of survival-promoting factors. If these findings hold true in humans, boosting immunity with LECT2 may be protective by helping clear the infection.