Author(s): Czura CJ, Wang H, Tracey KJ
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Abstract Effective therapies against overwhelming Gram-negative bacteremia, or sepsis, have eluded successful development. The discovery that tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a host-derived inflammatory mediator, was both necessary and sufficient to recapitulate Gram-negative sepsis raised cautious optimism for developing a targeted therapeutic. However, the rapid kinetics of the TNF response to infection defined an extremely narrow window of opportunity during which anti-TNF therapeutics could be successfully administered. HMGB1 was previously studied as a DNA-binding protein involved in DNA replication, repair, and transcription; and as a membrane-associated protein that mediates neurite outgrowth. A decade-long search has culminated in our identification of HMGB1 as a late mediator of endotoxemia. HMGB1 is released by macrophages upon exposure to endotoxin, activates many other pro-inflammatory mediators, and is lethal to otherwise healthy animals. Elevated levels of HMGB1 are observed in the serum of patients with sepsis, and the highest levels were found in those patients that died. The delayed kinetics of HMGB1 release indicate that it may be useful to target this toxic cytokine in the development of future therapies.
This article was published in J Endotoxin Res
and referenced in Journal of Gastrointestinal & Digestive System