Genetic variability in the immune-inflammatory response after major burn injury

Martin G. Schwacha, Lawanda T. Holland, Irshad H. Chaudry, Joseph L. Messina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Thermal injury induces immune dysfunction and alters numerous physiological parameters. Studies have proposed that genetics influence the outcome after traumatic injury and/or sepsis, however, the contribution of genetics to the immune-inflammatory response postburn has not been investigated. In this study, mice of three distinct genetic backgrounds (C57BL/6NCrlBR, BALB/cAnNCrlBR, and 129S6/SvEvTac) were subjected to thermal injury or a sham procedure, and 3 days later, blood and splenic immune cells (splenocytes and macrophages) were isolated for analysis. Splenocytes from the C57BL/6NCrlBR strain displayed suppressed splenic T cell proliferation postinjury, whereas the other strains were unaffected. Burn injury also induced a shift toward a Th2-type T-cell response (suppressed IFN-γ production) in the C57BL/6NCrlBR strain, but not in the other strains. Macrophages from C57BL/6NCrlBR and 129S6/SvEvTac mice were highly proinflammatory with elevated productive capacity for TNF-α and nitric oxide, whereas no such changes were observed in macrophages for BALB/cNCrlBR mice. C57BL/6NCRLBR macrophages produced increased IL-10 levels postburn, and BALB/cNCrlBR macrophages had suppressed IL-10 production postinjury. No differences in fasting blood glucose and insulin were observed after thermal injury. However, significant postburn weight loss was observed in the BALB/cNCrlBR and 12986/SvEvTac strains, but not in the C57BL/6NCrlBR strain. In summary, these findings support the concept that the immune-inflammatory response postburn is influenced by genetic make-up. Further elucidation of the influence of genetics under such conditions is likely to contribute to the improvement in existing, and development of new, therapeutic regimes for burn patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-128
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokine
  • Insulin
  • Macrophage
  • Mouse
  • Nitric oxide
  • T-cell
  • Th1/Th2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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