Protein that causes death in sepsis may also be linked to survival

Apr 13, 2011

A specific protein may cause both death and survival in the medical infection sepsis.

The protein Receptor Interacting Protein 1, which has previously been discovered to be the death-causing mechanism in the blood infection sepsis, has now also been connected to surviving the disease, according to an article in the journal Shock.

Researchers from Rhode Island Hospital used animal models and suppressed the RIP 1 protein with the expectation of seeing increased rates of survival. However, the suppression actually resulted in a decrease in survival rates, indicating that the protein may have more of a role in surviving septic injury than researchers thought.

"We initially hypothesized that RIP1 was involved in the alteration of the apoptotic death pathway to result in a kind of 'programmed necrosis' in the liver. What we actually found was an alternative role for RIP1 in the pathobiology of sepsis in the liver – one that also promotes cellular survival," senior researcher Dr. Alfred Ayala said.

Septicemia is one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. The serious conditions can result from a number of different infections and those who enter septic shock likely won't have time to modify life insurance beneficiaries or make other preparations before dying. People should make such preparations while they are still in good health, experts recommend.  

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