Antibiotics improve survival in sepsis independent of injury severity but do not change mortality in mice with markedly elevated interleukin 6 levels.

Isaiah R. Turnbull, Pardis Javadi, Timothy G. Buchman, Richard S. Hotchkiss, Irene E. Karl, Craig M. Coopersmith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

Genetically identical mice have a heterogeneous response to antibiotic therapy in sepsis, with only a subset deriving therapeutic benefit. We sought to determine whether the severity of a septic insult correlates with the survival benefit conferred by antibiotics. We also sought to determine whether antibiotics given 12 h after injury alter survival in animals predicted to die based upon high interleukin (IL)-6 levels drawn 6 h earlier. Adult male ND4 mice (n = 363) were subjected to double-puncture cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) with a 19-, 21-, or 23-gauge needle. Animals were randomized to receive imipenem or 0.9% NaCl every 12 h after CLP for 5 days. Ten-day survival was 16%, 26%, and 52%, respectively, for untreated animals. Antibiotics decreased the absolute risk of death 17% to 23% regardless of injury severity. In a separate cohort, mice (n = 37) were subjected to single or double-puncture CLP with a 21-gauge needle. IL-6 levels were assayed 6 h postoperatively and mice were followed for survival. Levels greater than 14,000 pg/mL were identified as predicting a 100% mortality (7/7 animals dead). A third set of mice (n = 94) then underwent double-puncture CLP with either 21-, 23-, or 25-gauge needle and had IL-6 levels measured in a similar fashion. Animals were randomized to receive imipenem or 0.9% NaCl beginning 12 h postoperatively (6 h after IL-6 levels were drawn) and continued for 5 days or until death. Although antibiotics decreased mortality overall, all animals with IL-6 levels greater than 14,000 pg/mL (n = 13) died, regardless of whether they received antibiotics or the gauge of needle used. These results indicate that antibiotics improve outcome in murine sepsis, regardless of injury severity. Furthermore, there is a threshold IL-6 level that can be identified 6 h after sepsis above which animals are destined to die, and antibiotic treatment does not alter their outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-125
Number of pages5
JournalShock (Augusta, Ga.)
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2004

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