Macrophages and post-burn immune dysfunction

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

237 Scopus citations


The activation of a pro-inflammatory cascade after burn injury appears to be important in the development of subsequent immune dysfunction, susceptibility to sepsis and multiple organ failure. Macrophages are major producers of pro-inflammatory mediators and their productive capacity for these mediators is markedly enhanced following thermal injury. Thus, macrophage hyperactivity (as defined by increased productive capacity for pro-inflammatory mediators) appears to be of critical importance in the development of post-burn immune dysfunction. This review will focus on the current state of knowledge with regards to the role of macrophages in the development of post-burn immune dysfunction. Particular areas of discussion include: nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme systems, macrophages and the T-helper (Th)-1/Th-2 cytokine responses, alterations in macrophages signal transduction and a potential role for γ/δ T-cells in the development of macrophage hyperactivity following thermal injury. A more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between macrophage activity and post-burn immune dysfunction will hopefully provide the basis for improved therapeutic regimes in the treatment of burn patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Burns
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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