Nav: Home

Antidepressant could stop deadly sepsis, study suggests

February 14, 2019

An antidepressant drug used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder could save people from deadly sepsis, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests.

Sepsis is a significant cause of death around the world. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Infection calls it "the body's extreme response to an infection." Essentially, the body's immune response spirals out of control, and the normally beneficial inflammation becomes harmful. The result can be tissue damage, organ failure or even death.

"Sepsis is very dangerous. In the U.S., 1.7 million get it every year, and 270,000 people die," said researcher Alban Gaultier, PhD, of UVA's Department of Neuroscience and its Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG). "Once you get diagnosed, you have a high chance of mortality. And there is no good treatment. Basically, we will try to keep you alive and monitor you as much as we can. So clearly there is a critical need for treatment."

Gaultier and his team have identified a drug that could offer that treatment - and previous safety testing of the drug could fast-track it into use in hospitals around the country.

A Simple Solution for Sepsis?

The UVA researchers were looking at a little-studied biological process inside our cells when they determined it has an important role in regulating inflammation. They began studying it partly because there are already drugs that can affect players in the process.

"Inflammation, most of the time, is good. It's when it gets out of control that we need to modulate it," Gaultier said. "Inflammation is a very precisely controlled reaction. When we need it and have too much, it's a problem, but when we don't have enough, it's also a problem."

To evaluate the potential of one drug, the antidepressant fluvoxamine, to stop sepsis, Gaultier's team tested it in a mouse model of the disease. The drug worked very effectively, they found.

While the drug will need to be tested in people to determine its effectiveness at battling human sepsis, previous testing to determine its safety should accelerate that process.

Gaultier hypothesizes that the same biological process could be targeted to generate beneficial inflammation when needed, such as in immunocompromised people. "By inhibiting the receptor, we could activate inflammation in conditions where patient don't have a proper inflammatory response," he said.

He plans to continue his research, including testing that hypothesis.
-end-
Sepsis Findings Published

The researchers have published their findings in Science Translational Medicine. The research team consisted of Dorian A Rosen, Scott M. Seki, Anthony Ferna?ndez-Castan?eda, Rebecca M. Beiter, Jacob D. Eccles, Judith A. Woodfolk and Gaultier.

The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, grants R01 NS083542, R21 NS101281 and T32 GM007055; and the Owens Family Foundation.

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog at http://makingofmedicine.virginia.edu.

University of Virginia Health System

Related Sepsis Articles:

After decades of little progress, researchers may be catching up to sepsis
After decades of little or no progress, biomedical researchers are finally making some headway at detecting and treating sepsis, a deadly medical complication that sends a surge of pathogenic infection through the body and remains a major public health problem.
Study changes guidelines for sepsis management
University of Arizona Health Sciences researcher ends debate among physicians regarding sepsis management.
Improving outcomes for sepsis patients
More than 1 million sepsis survivors are discharged annually from acute care hospitals in the United States.
Genes linked to death from sepsis ID'd in mice
Bacteria in the bloodstream can trigger an overwhelming immune response that causes sepsis.
Identifying therapeutic targets in sepsis' cellular videogame
Exciting new research has defined the chain of molecular events that goes awry in sepsis, opening up opportunities for new treatments to fight the condition that affects more than a million Americans each year and kills up to a third of them.
KAIST identifies the cause of sepsis-induced lung injury
A KAIST research team succeeded in visualizing pulmonary microcirculation and circulating cells in vivo with a custom-built 3D intravital lung microscopic imaging system.
New computer-aided model may help predict sepsis
Can a computer-aided model predict life-threatening sepsis? A model developed in the UK that uses routinely collected data to identify early symptoms of sepsis, published in CMAJ, shows promise.
Sepsis a leading cause of death in US hospitals but many deaths may not be preventable
A research team at Brigham and Women's Hospital has comprehensively reviewed the characteristics and clinical management of patients who died with sepsis.
How common, preventable are sepsis-associated deaths in hospitals?
This study estimates how common sepsis-related deaths are in hospitals and how preventable those deaths might be.
Antidepressant could stop deadly sepsis, study suggests
An antidepressant drug used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder could save people from deadly sepsis, new research suggests.
More Sepsis News and Sepsis Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#542 Climate Doomsday
Have you heard? Climate change. We did it. And it's bad. It's going to be worse. We are already suffering the effects of it in many ways. How should we TALK about the dangers we are facing, though? Should we get people good and scared? Or give them hope? Or both? Host Bethany Brookshire talks with David Wallace-Wells and Sheril Kirschenbaum to find out. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News. Related links: Why Climate Disasters Might Not Boost Public Engagement on Climate Change on The New York Times by Andrew Revkin The other kind...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Breaking Bongo
Deep fake videos have the potential to make it impossible to sort fact from fiction. And some have argued that this blackhole of doubt will eventually send truth itself into a death spiral. But a series of recent events in the small African nation of Gabon suggest it's already happening.  Today, we follow a ragtag group of freedom fighters as they troll Gabon's president - Ali Bongo - from afar. Using tweets, videos and the uncertainty they can carry, these insurgents test the limits of using truth to create political change and, confusingly, force us to ask: Can fake news be used for good? This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.