Objective: To investigate the impact of thymopentin (Thy) on mortality and in vivo cytokine release in an animal model of gut-derived sepsis which includes different combinations of allogeneic blood transfusion (T) and burn injury plus bacterial gavage (BG). Design: Randomly controlled experiments. Material: Two hundred sixteen Balb/c (H-2(d)) and 50 C3H/HeJ (H-2(k)) mice. Interventions: In the first study 60 Balb/c mice were given Thy (1 mg/kg). The same day of therapy onset, 40 mice were transfused with allogeneic blood (from C3H/HeJ mice). The remaining 20 mice received aliquots of saline. Five days post-T, 20 of the 40 transfused mice were subjected to a 20% TBSA thermal injury and simultaneous gavage with 1 x 109 Escherichia coli and the other 20 mice underwent a sham burn. The 20 nontransfused mice also received a 20% burn plus bacterial gavage. In all animals Thy was administered for 15 days. Three control groups (n = 20 each) entered the same protocol design, but they did not receive Thy. In the second study 96 animals were randomized to six groups (n = 16 each) according to the above experimental design. Animals were sacrificed by exsanguination after burn or 5 days post-T in nonburned mice to measure TNF-α, IL-2, and IL-4 plasma levels. Results: The highest mortality (70%) occurred when T was combined with BG. Thy significantly reduced mortality in both groups that underwent BG, regardless of the association with T. TNF-α was detectable in 30% of the tested samples, IL-2 in 50%, and IL-4 in 70%. Thy significantly reduced the levels of IL-4 and increased the production of IL-2. Conclusions: The protective effect of Thy in this experimental model may be mediated by modulation of cytokine release.
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