Bench-to-bedside review: Functional relationships between coagulation and the innate immune response and their respective roles in the pathogenesis of sepsis
1 Professor of Medicine, Infectious Disease Division, Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
2 Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Head and Member of the Cardiovascular Biology Research Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
Critical Care 2003, 7:23-38 doi:10.1186/cc1854Published: 20 December 2002
The innate immune response system is designed to alert the host rapidly to the presence of an invasive microbial pathogen that has breached the integument of multicellular eukaryotic organisms. Microbial invasion poses an immediate threat to survival, and a vigorous defense response ensues in an effort to clear the pathogen from the internal milieu of the host. The innate immune system is able to eradicate many microbial pathogens directly, or innate immunity may indirectly facilitate the removal of pathogens by activation of specific elements of the adaptive immune response (cell-mediated and humoral immunity by T cells and B cells). The coagulation system has traditionally been viewed as an entirely separate system that has arisen to prevent or limit loss of blood volume and blood components following mechanical injury to the circulatory system. It is becoming increasingly clear that coagulation and innate immunity have coevolved from a common ancestral substrate early in eukaryotic development, and that these systems continue to function as a highly integrated unit for survival defense following tissue injury. The mechanisms by which these highly complex and coregulated defense strategies are linked together are the focus of the present review.