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Open Badges Commentary

Death of the septic monocyte: is more better?

Theo J Moraes1 and Gregory P Downey2*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Respiratory Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2 Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine, The University of Toronto, and The Toronto General Hospital Research Institute of University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Critical Care 2006, 10:146  doi:10.1186/cc4950

See related research by Giamarellos-Bourboulis et al.,

Published: 2 June 2006


Apoptosis is of pivotal importance in the pathogenesis of sepsis. Depending on the cell type involved and the time point of the disease process, apoptosis may be linked to either a good or a bad outcome. Work presented in this issue by Giamarellos-Bourboulis and coworkers suggests that an early increase in the apoptosis of blood monocytes is associated with improved survival in patients with varying degrees of sepsis. Although the mechanism by which monocyte apoptosis influences the outcome of sepsis cannot be determined by this study, these observations represent an important advance in our understanding of this complicated disease process.