Englisch: Infants Younger Than 90 Days Admitted for Late-Onset Sepsis Display a Reduced Abundance of Regulatory T Cells


Objective: To provide epidemiological data of infants < 90 days of age with suspected late-onset sepsis (LOS) and evaluate distinct immunological specificities. We hypothesized that previously healthy infants < 3 months of age with sepsis have a yet undefined immunological predisposition; e.g. differences in lymphocyte subsets including regulatory T cells. Methods: We performed an exploratory, single center study between January 1st, 2019 and June 1st, 2021. Routine diagnostics included conventional culture (blood, cerebrospinal fluid, urine), PCR and inflammatory markers in infants < 90 days of age with suspected sepsis. We additionally analyzed lymphocyte subsets and CD4+ CD25+ forkhead box protein (FoxP3)+ Tregs at admission for sepsis workup as compared to age-matched controls. Results: A convenience sample cohort of n= 51 infants with sepsis workup was enrolled. Invasive bacterial infection (IBI) was diagnosed in 25 (49.0%) patients including two infants with a rhinovirus co-infection and viral infection in 14 (27.5%) neonates. No infectious cause was found in 12 cases. Infants with suspected LOS displayed a decreased abundance of CD4+ FoxP3+ T cells as compared to controls, which was most pronounced in the subgroup of infants with IBI. We also noticed elevated HLA-DR-positive CD3+ cells in infants with LOS and a higher CD4/CD8-ratio in infants with viral infection as compared to healthy controls. Infants with viral infections had a higher number of natural killer cells as compared to infants with IBI. Conclusion: Our exploratory data support the concept of a potential immaturity state and failed immune tolerance development for young infants with LOS. Future large-scale studies are needed to elucidate pre-sepsis conditions and to target the microbiome-immunity interplay as a potential risk pattern. © Copyright © 2021 Fortmann, Dammann, Siller, Humberg, Demmert, Tüshaus, Lindert, van Zandbergen, Pagel, Rupp, Herting and Härtel.
Original languageGerman
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 27.08.2021

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