Lymphocyte function in wound healing and following injury

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Abstract

Background:

Injury activates a cascade of local and systemic immune responses.

Methods:

A literature review was undertaken of lymphocyte function in wound healing and following injury.

Results:

Lymphocytes are not required for the initiation of wound healing, but an intact cellular immune response is essential for a normal outcome of tissue repair. Injury affects lymphocyte immune mechanisms leading to generalized immunosuppression which, in turn, increases host susceptibility to infection and sepsis. Although the exact origin of post-traumatic immunosuppression remains unknown, stress hormones and immunosuppressive factors, such as inflammatory cytokines, prostaglandin E2 and nitric oxide, affect lymphocyte function adversely. Post-traumatic impairment of T lymphocyte immune function is reflected in decreased lymphocyte numbers, as well as altered T cell phenotype and activity. Antibody-producing B lymphocytes are variably affected by injury, probably secondary to alterations of T lymphocyte function, as a result of their close interaction with helper T cells. Therapeutic modulation of the host immune response may include non-specific and specific interventions to improve overall defence mechanisms.

Conclusion:

Early resuscitation to restore lymphocyte function after injury is important for tissue repair and the prevention of immunosuppression.

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