Tracking neutrophil motility patterns could provide early diagnosis of life-threatening condition
In a study, a movement of neutrophils in the absence of chemical signals was observed in samples taken from some patients several days before a diagnosis of sepsis could be made, and once effective antibiotic treatment began, the unusual movement pattern began to fade. The authors note that, in addition to allowing faster initiation of antibiotic treatment, the ability to diagnose sepsis rapidly and accurately would reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics that leads to the proliferation of resistant bacteria that is so common in burn units.
"Since only a handful of rare genetic disorders affect neutrophil function, it has long been assumed that studying these cells was not important; but our findings indicate that neutrophils play a much more important role in sepsis than has been appreciated"
Altered movement of white blood cells may predict sepsis in patients with major burns
Image credits: BioMEMS Resource Center, Massachusetts General Hospital