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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2, Issue 7, Pages S5-S10
Review paper

Immunoregulatory biological response modifiers: effect of cytokines on septic shock

1National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA
2Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
34 Cold Spring Court, Potomac 20854, MD, USA

Copyright © 1993 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


Whole bacteria or bacterial components or their extracts were employed to restore or augment the immune system. Beneficial effects were attained with these agents in treating various diseases. These agents were named biological response modifiers (BRMs) because they regulated certain cellular components of the immune system. The cellular regulation induced by these BRMs was found to be due to cytokines. The cytokines were shown to act directly on the various cellular components and to provide therapeutic benefit in various autoimmune and immune deficiency diseases. Overproduction of specific cytokines however leads to a deleterious effect on the host. Overproduction of tumour necrosis factor (endotoxin, lipopolysaccharide) leads to septic shock. Bacteraemia is the leading cause of overproduction of tumour necrosis factor (TNF). Septic shock in many cases leads to death. Several monoclonal antibodies to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and anticytokines have demonstrated protection against septic shock.