Changes in T lymphocyte subsets after severe traumatic brain injury

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Besides local changes of cranial parenchymal cells, hemorrhage, etc., severe traumatic brain injuries also cause the changes of total body fluid and various functions, and the changes of lymphocytes and T lymphocyte subsets should be paid more attention to.

OBJECTIVE:

To reveal the changing laws of T lymphocyte subsets after severe traumatic brain injury, and compare with mild to moderate brain injury.

DESIGN:

A comparative observation.

SETTINGS:

Department of Neurosurgery, Longgang District Buji People's Hospital of Shenzhen City; Central Laboratory of Shenzhen Hospital of Prevention and Cure for Chronic Disease.

PARTICIPANTS:

All the subjects were selected from the Department of Neurosurgery, Longgang District Buji People's Hospital of Shenzhen City from August 2002 to August 2005. Thirty patients with severe brain injury, whose Glasgow coma score (GCS) was ≤ 8 points, were taken as the experimental group, including 21 males and 9 females, aging 16 – 62 years. Meanwhile, 30 patients with mild traumatic brain injury were taken as the control group (GCS ranged 14 – 15 points), including 18 males and 12 females, aging 15 – 58 years. All the subjects were in admission at 6 hours after injury, without disease of major organs before injury. Informed consents were obtained from all the patients or their relatives.

METHODS:

① The T lymphocytes and the subsets in peripheral blood were detected with immunofluorescent tricolor flow cytometry at 1, 3, 7 and 14 days after injury in both groups. ② The conditions of pulmonary infections were observed at 4 days after injury. The differences of measurement data were compared with the t test.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Changes of T lymphocytes subsets at 1 – 14 days after severe and mild or moderate traumatic injury.

RESULTS:

Finally, 28 and 25 patients with mild to moderate traumatic brain injury, whereas 25 and 21 patients with severe traumatic brain injury were analyzed at 7 and 14 days respectively, and the missed ones died due to the development of disease. ① Changes of T lymphocyte subsets: At 1 and 3 days after injury, CD3, CD4, CD8, CD4/CD8 began to decrease, whereas CD8 increased in the experimental group, which were very significantly different from those in the control group (t =2.77 – 3.26, P < 0.01), and began to recover at 7 days, which were significantly different from those in the control group (t = 2.06 – 2.24, P < 0.05), and generally recovered to the normal levels at 14 days (P > 0.05). ② Conditions of pulmonary infections: At 4 days after injury, the rate of pulmonary infection was significantly different between the experimental group and control group [73% (22/30), 0, Χ2=37.29, P < 0.01].

CONCLUSION:

Patients with severe traumatic brain injury suffer from damages of cellular immune function at early period (within 7 days), and they are easily to be accompanied by pulmonary infections.

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