A major cause of human disability and death throughout the world, sepsis is a condition that begins with an infection, progresses rapidly and can set off a chain of effects that result in multiple organ failure and irreparable damage to the body. Because of the condition’s rapid onset, physicians must respond immediately to the symptoms with broad-spectrum antibiotics for infection, drugs to combat inflammation and, in the more critical cases, vasopressors to manage shock. Because sepsis is so difficult to detect in its early stages, however, little has been known about how it develops. This may explain why no new effective drugs to treat sepsis have been developed in decades, while it remains one of the leading causes of hospital deaths. Sepsis also can result in serious disabilities for those who survive.
Now, researchers led by MCDB professor Jamey Marth have developed a method for tracking, on a molecular level, the development of sepsis. Their paper, “Accelerated Aging and Clearance of Host Anti-inflammatory Enzymes by Discrete Pathogens Fuels Sepsis” is published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.