Rho-kinase regulates induction of T-cell immune dysfunction in abdominal sepsis.

Zirak Hasan, Karzan Palani, Songen Zhang, Mattias Lepsenyi, Rundk Hwaiz, Milladur Rahman, Ingvar Syk, Bengt Jeppsson, Henrik Thorlacius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


T-cell dysfunction increases susceptibility to infections in patients with sepsis. In the present study, we hypothesized that Rho-kinase signaling might regulate induction of T-cell dysfunction in abdominal sepsis. Male C57BL/6 mice were treated with the specific Rho-kinase inhibitor Y-27632 (5 mg/kg) prior to cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). Spleen CD4 T-cell apoptosis, proliferation and regulatory T-cells (CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+)) were determined by flow cytometry. Formation of IFN-γ and IL-4 in the spleen and plasma levels of HMBG1 and IL-6 were quantified by use of ELISA. It was found that CLP evoked apoptosis and decreased proliferation in splenic CD4 T-cells. Inhibition of Rho-kinase activity decreased apoptosis and enhanced proliferation of CD4 T-cells in septic animals. In addition, CLP-evoked induction of regulatory T-cells in the spleen was abolished by Rho-kinase inhibition. CLP reduced the levels of IFN-γ and IL-4 in the spleen. Pretreatment with Y-27632 inhibited the sepsis-induced decrease in IFN-γ but not IL-4 formation in the spleen. CLP increased plasma levels of HMGB1 by 20-fold and IL-6 by 19-fold. Inhibition of Rho-kinase decreased this CLP-evoked increase of HMGB1, IL-6 and IL-17 levels in the plasma by more than 60%, suggesting that Rho-kinase regulates systemic inflammation in sepsis. Moreover, we observed that pretreatment with Y-27632 abolished CLP-induced bacteremia. Together, our novel findings indicate that Rho-kinase is a powerful regulator of T-cell immune dysfunction in abdominal sepsis. Thus, targeting Rho-kinase signaling might be a useful strategy to improve T-cell immunity in patients with abdominal sepsis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2499-2506
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Surgery


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