Bim siRNA decreases lymphocyte apoptosis and improves survival in sepsis

Steven J. Schwulst, Jared T. Muenzer, Octavia M. Peck-Palmer, Katherine C. Chang, Christopher G. Davis, Jacquelyn S. McDonough, Dale F. Osborne, Andrew H. Walton, Jacqueline Unsinger, Jonathan E. McDunn, Richard S. Hotchkiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


To assess the degree of lymphocyte apoptosis and survival in mice treated with small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeted to Bim, a proapoptotic molecule from the Bcl-2 family, within a clinically relevant model of sepsis. C57BL/6 mice were treated with a single dose of Bim siRNA complexed in cationic liposomes via tail vein injection. Approximately 24 h later, mice were subjected to either cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) or sham surgery. Animals were killed at 20 h postsurgery, and spleens were harvested for fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end-labeling as a marker for apoptosis. A second cohort of mice was followed for survival for 7 days. The degree of lymphocyte apoptosis in Bim siRNA-treated mice was markedly decreased compared with controls. Fluorescent activated cell sorter analysis demonstrated 13.1% ± 1.2% B-cell apoptosis and 11.5% ± 1.5% T-cell apoptosis in control mice compared with 2.7% ± 0.4% B-cell apoptosis and 3.9% ± 0.3% T-cell apoptosis in Bim siRNA-treated mice after CLP (P < 0.001 and P < 0.01, respectively). This striking difference in lymphocyte apoptosis correlated with a significant survival advantage in Bim siRNA-treated mice. At 7 days, there was 90% overall survival in Bim siRNA-treated septic mice compared with 50% overall survival in control septic mice (P < 0.05). Treatment with Bim siRNA in vivo has the potential to be an effective therapy in the treatment of sepsis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Flow cytometry
  • Gene knockdown
  • Infection
  • Liposome
  • RNA interference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine


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