System-Wide Mapping of Activated Circuitry in Experimental Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome

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Sepsis-induced multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients and remains impervious to most therapeutic interventions. We utilized a clinically relevant murine model of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) during early MODS induced by ventilator-associated pneumonia to systematically delineate pathways dysregulated in lung, liver, and kidney. We focused on processes commonly activated across at-risk organs and constructed an SIRS-associated network based on connectivity among the gene members of these functionally coherent pathways. Our analyses led to the identification of several putative drivers of early MODS whose expression was regulated by epidermal growth factor receptor. Our unbiased, integrative method is a promising approach to unravel mechanisms in system-wide disorders afflicting multiple compartments such as sepsis-induced MODS, and identify putative therapeutic targets.

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