Induction of Bim and Bid gene expression during accelerated apoptosis in severe sepsis

Weber, Stefan U; Schewe, Jens-Christian; Lehmann, Lutz E; Müller, Stefan; Book, Malte; Klaschik, Sven; Hoeft, Andreas; Stüber, Frank (2008). Induction of Bim and Bid gene expression during accelerated apoptosis in severe sepsis. Critical care, 12(5), R128. London: BioMed Central 10.1186/cc7088

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ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: In transgenic animal models of sepsis, members of the Bcl-2-family of proteins regulate lymphocyte apoptosis and survival of sepsis. This study investigates the gene regulation of pro- and anti-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2-family of proteins in patients with early stage severe sepsis. METHODS: In this prospective case-control study patients were recruited from three intensive care units in a university hospital. Sixteen patients were enrolled as soon as they fulfilled the criteria of severe sepsis. Ten critically ill but non-septic patients and eleven healthy volunteers served as controls. Blood samples were immediately obtained at inclusion. To confirm the presence of accelerated apoptosis in the patient groups, caspase-3 activation and phosphatidylserine (PS) externalization in CD4+, CD8+ and CD19+ lymphocyte subsets were assessed by flow cytometry. Specific mRNA's of Bcl-2 family members were quantified from whole blood by real-time polymerase chain reaction. To test for statistical significance, Kruskal-Wallis testing with Dunn's multiple comparison test for post hoc testing was performed. RESULTS: In all lymphocyte populations caspase-3 (p<0.05) was activated, which was reflected in an increased PS externalization (p<0.05). Accordingly, lymphocyte counts were decreased in early severe sepsis. In CD4+ T-cells (p<005) and in B-cells (p<0.001) the Bcl-2 protein was decreased in severe sepsis. Gene expression of the BH3-only Bim was massively upregulated as compared to critically ill patients (p<0.001) and 51.6 fold as compared to healthy controls (p<0.05). Bid was increased 12.9 fold compared to critically ill (p<0.001). In the group of the mitochondrial apoptosis-inducers, Bak was upregulated 5.6 fold, while the expression of Bax showed no significant variations. By contrast, the pro-survival members Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl were both downregulated in severe sepsis (p<0.001, p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: In early severe sepsis a gene expression pattern with induction of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members Bim, Bid and Bak and a downregulation of the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl was observed in peripheral blood. This constellation may affect cellular susceptibility to apoptosis and complex immune dysfunction in sepsis.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > Clinic and Policlinic for Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy

UniBE Contributor:

Lehmann, Lutz Eric, Book, Malte, Stüber, Frank






BioMed Central




Jeannie Wurz

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:01

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:19

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:




URI: (FactScience: 81077)

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