Lymphocyte function in wound healing and following injury

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Injury activates a cascade of local and systemic immune responses.


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


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.


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

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