Gamma interferon does not enhance clearance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa but does amplify a proinflammatory response in a murine model of postseptic immunosuppression.


Patients that have suffered a major injury may sustain a period of immunocompromise and altered Th1/Th2 cytokine balance that can predispose them to opportunistic infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is frequently a causative organism for nosocomial infections in critically ill patients and is associated with high mortality. We previously mimicked this clinical scenario by challenging mice with P. aeruginosa 5 days after a cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) procedure. Mice that were subjected to CLP had reduced ability to clear bacteria, significantly lower gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) concentrations in plasma, and significantly elevated levels of interleukin 10 (IL-10) in plasma in response to the Pseudomonas challenge compared to uninjured control mice. We investigated the significance of the alteration in IFN-gamma by administering recombinant IFN-gamma to post-CLP mice at the time of Pseudomonas challenge and by challenging IFN-gamma knockout (IFN-gamma KO) mice with Pseudomonas. Administration of IFN-gamma to post-CLP mice attenuated IL-10 secretion and enhanced IL-12 secretion but did not improve bacterial clearance or survival after Pseudomonas challenge. Furthermore, IFN-gamma KO mice had significantly higher plasma IL-10 concentrations but did not exhibit impaired bacterial clearance or increased mortality following Pseudomonas challenge. These data indicate that systemic administration of IFN-gamma effectively reverses alterations in immune function that are commonly associated with immunosuppression in critically injured mice but does not improve bacterial clearance or survival following Pseudomonas challenge. Further, endogenous IFN-gamma does not appear to contribute significantly to early clearance of Pseudomonas bacteremia, nor does it affect the mortality rate after a lethal Pseudomonas challenge.