Functional Characterization of Neutrophils Allows Source Control Evaluation in a Murine Sepsis Model

Christen E. Salyer, Christian B. Bergmann, Richard S. Hotchkiss, Peter A. Crisologo, Charles C. Caldwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Current surgical guidelines for the treatment of intra-abdominal sepsis recommend interventional source control as the key element of therapy, alongside resuscitation and antibiotic administration. Past trials attempted to predict the success of interventional source control to assess whether further interventional therapy is needed. However, no predictive score could be developed. Materials and methods: We utilized an established murine abdominal sepsis model, the cecal ligation and puncture (CLP), and performed a successful surgical source control intervention after full development of sepsis, the CLP-excision (CLP/E). We then sought to evaluate the success of the source control by characterizing circulating neutrophil phenotype and functionality 24 h postintervention. Results: We showed a significant relative increase of neutrophils and a significant absolute and relative increase of activated neutrophils in septic mice. Source control with CLP/E restored these numbers back to baseline. Moreover, main neutrophil functions, the acidification of cell compartments, such as lysosomes, and the production of Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-α), were impaired in septic mice but restored after CLP/E intervention. Conclusions: Neutrophil characterization by phenotyping and evaluating their functionality indicates successful source control in septic mice and can serve as a prognostic tool. These findings provide a rationale for the phenotypic and functional characterization of neutrophils in human patients with infection. Further studies will be needed to determine whether a predictive score for the assessment of successful surgical source control can be established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-101
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Acidification
  • Intra-abdominal infection
  • Neutrophil
  • Sepsis
  • Source control
  • TNF-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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