Lactate and Immunosuppression in Sepsis

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Serum lactate levels are traditionally interpreted as a marker of tissue hypoxia and often used clinically as an indicator of severity and outcome of sepsis/septic shock. Interestingly, recent studies involving the effects of tumor-derived lactate suggest that lactate itself may have an immunosuppressive effect in its local environment. This finding adds to the recent advances in immunometabolism that shed light on the importance of metabolism and metabolic intermediates in the regulation of innate immune and inflammatory responses in sepsis. In this article, we summarize recent studies, showing that the activation of immune cells requires aerobic glycolytic metabolism and that lactate produced by aerobic glycolysis may play an immunosuppressive role in sepsis.

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