Divergent Sepsis Pathophysiology in Older Adults

Meagan S. Kingren, Marlene E. Starr, Hiroshi Saito

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Significance: Both incidence and mortality rates of sepsis significantly increase with advanced age, and the majority of sepsis patients are late middle-aged or older. With the proportion of older adults rapidly increasing in developed countries, age-dependent sepsis vulnerability is an urgent medical issue. Due to an increasing life expectancy, postsepsis complications and health care costs are expected to increase as well. Recent Advances: Older patients suffer from higher sepsis incidence and mortality rates, likely resulting from frequent comorbidities, increased coagulation, dysgylcemia, and altered immune responses. Critical Issues: Despite a large number of ongoing clinical and basic research studies, there is currently no effective therapeutic strategy targeting older patients with severe sepsis. The disparity between clinical and basic studies is a problem, and this is largely due to the use of animal models lacking clinical relevance. Although the majority of sepsis cases occur in older adults, most laboratory animals used for sepsis research are very young. Further, despite the wide use of combination fluid and antibiotic treatment in intensive care unit (ICU) patients, most animal research does not include such treatment. Future Directions: Because sepsis is a systemic disease with multiple organ dysfunction, combined therapy approaches, not those targeting single pathways or single organs, are essential. As for preclinical research, it is critical to confirm new findings using aged animal models with clinically relevant ICU-like medical treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1358-1375
Number of pages18
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number16
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.


  • aging
  • comorbidity
  • inflammation
  • oxidative stress
  • sepsis
  • thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Divergent Sepsis Pathophysiology in Older Adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this