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Post-operative immune suppression is mediated via reversible, Interleukin-10 dependent pathways in circulating monocytes following major abdominal surgery.

PLoS One; 13(9): e0203795, 2018.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30212506


Post-operative infections occur frequently following major surgery. The magnitude of the post-operative immune response is associated with an increased risk of post-operative infections, although the mechanisms driving post-operative immune-dysfunction and the potential reversibility of this response with immune stimulants are not well understood. This study aims to describe the immediate immune response to major surgery and establish links to both post-operative infection and functional aspects of immune dysregulation. We also investigate the potential of clinically available immune stimulants to reverse features of post-operative immune-dysfunction.


Patients over 45 years old undergoing elective gastro-intestinal surgery with planned post-operative surgical ICU admission were recruited. The expression of selected genes was determined pre-operatively and at 2, 24 and 48 hours post-operatively using qRT-PCR. Circulating levels of Interleukin-10 protein were determined by ELISA. Peri-operative cell surface monocyte HLA-DR (mHLA-DR) expression was determined using flow cytometry. Gene expression and mHLA-DR levels were determined in healthy monocytes cultured in peri-operative serum with and without neutralising antibodies and immune stimulants.


119 patients were recruited; 44 developed a post-operative infection. Interleukin-10 mRNA and protein increased 4-fold post-operatively (P<0.0001), peaking within 2 hours of the procedure. Higher post-operative Interleukin-10 mRNA (P = 0.007) and protein (P = 0.001) levels were associated with an increased risk of infection. Cell surface mHLA-DR expression fell post-operatively (P<0.0001). Reduced production, rather than intracellular sequestration, accounted for the post-operative decline in cell surface mHLA-DR expression. Interleukin-10 antibody prevented the decrease in mHLA-DR expression observed when post-operative serum was added to healthy monocytes. GM-CSF and IFN-γ prevented the decline in mHLA-DR production through distinct pathways.


Monocyte dysfunction and features of immune suppression occur frequently after major surgery. Greater post-operative Interleukin-10 production is associated with later infection. Interleukin-10 is an important mediator of post-operative reductions in mHLA-DR expression, while clinically available immune stimulants can restore mHLA-DR levels.