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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 671087, 11 pages
Review Article

Role of Circulating Lymphocytes in Patients with Sepsis

1Intensive Care Unit, University Hospital “Príncipe de Asturias”, University of Alcala, Alcala de Henares, 28805 Madrid, Spain
2Laboratory of Immune System Diseases and Oncology, National Biotechnology Center (CNB-CSIC) Associated Unit, Department of Medicine and Medical Specialties, University of Alcala, 28871 Madrid, Spain
3Immune System Diseases and Oncology Service, University Hospital “Príncipe de Asturias”, University of Alcala, Alcala de Henares, 28805 Madrid, Spain

Received 23 February 2014; Revised 15 July 2014; Accepted 29 July 2014; Published 28 August 2014

Academic Editor: Baoli Cheng

Copyright © 2014 Raul de Pablo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sepsis is a systemic inflammatory response syndrome due to infection. The incidence rate is estimated to be up to 19 million cases worldwide per year and the number of cases is rising. Infection triggers a complex and prolonged host response, in which both the innate and adaptive immune response are involved. The disturbance of immune system cells plays a key role in the induction of abnormal levels of immunoregulatory molecules. Furthermore, the involvement of effector immune system cells also impairs the host response to the infective agents and tissue damage. Recently, postmortem studies of patients who died of sepsis have provided important insights into why septic patients die and showed an extensive depletion of CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes and they found that circulating blood cells showed similar findings. Thus, the knowledge of the characterization of circulating lymphocyte abnormalities is relevant for the understanding of the sepsis pathophysiology. In addition, monitoring the immune response in sepsis, including circulating lymphocyte subsets count, appears to be potential biomarker for predicting the clinical outcome of the patient. This paper analyzes the lymphocyte involvement and dysfunction found in patients with sepsis and new opportunities to prevent sepsis and guide therapeutic intervention have been revealed.