• Wound fluid from 10-day-old healing wounds in rats inhibits lymphocyte immune responses. Since severe injury is frequently complicated by immunosuppression as manifested by sepsis, we hypothesized that the wound may be a source of factors that impair host immune responses. Therefore, we studied the effect of systemic wound fluid administration on the survival of rats subjected to an acute peritonitis model. Male Sprague-Dawley rats, fitted with internal jugular catheters 48 hours previously, underwent cecal ligation and puncture with a 23-gauge needle. Immediately after the operation, rats were treated intravenously every 12 hours with either wound fluid obtained from 10-day-old healing wounds and adjusted to 10 mg of protein per milliliter or rat serum. In vitro testing of the wound fluid showed it to be highly inhibitory of thymic lymphocyte mitogenesis. Rats treated with wound fluid had significantly higher mortality after peritonitis than did control rats. The data show that the wound contains factors that can impair host immune responses to sepsis. This suggests that the wound may be the source of posttraumatic host immunosuppression.
(Arch Surg. 1989;124:1429-1431)