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International Journal of Inflammation
Volume 2012, Article ID 697592, 9 pages
Review Article

The Immune Response: Targets for the Treatment of Severe Sepsis

1Division of Critical Care, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, 13121 E 17th Avenue, MS 8414, Aurora, CO 80045-2535, USA
2Division of Pediatric Critical Care, Children's Hospital Colorado, 13123 East 16th Avenue, Aurora, CO 80045, USA
3Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Medical Center North, Vanderbilt University, Room T-1208, Nashville, TN 37232, USA

Received 3 September 2012; Accepted 6 November 2012

Academic Editor: Paulo Roberto B. Evora

Copyright © 2012 Aline M. Bernard and Gordon R. Bernard. 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.


The clinical process of severe sepsis is characterized by extreme inflammation interlinked with potent stimulation of the coagulation cascade often followed by a state of relative immune paralysis. In this paper, we will review many of the potential therapies directed at various steps along the inflammatory cascade from modulation of inflammatory mediators eliciting the immune response, alteration of the host's immune response in both a stimulatory and depressive manner, and taming the overexuberant coagulation response triggered by the fierce coagulation-inflammation cycle. Finally, we will discuss further opportunities for research to improve our ability to design effective therapies.