Genetics of sepsis and pneumonia

Richard G. Wunderink*, Grant W. Waterer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: The genetic risk for pneumonia, sepsis, and other serious infections is generally unrecognized or underestimated. Although the strongest evidence for a genetic risk comes from an adoptee study, most evidence for a genetic role in infection involves association studies, which compare the incidence of specific mutations in a population with infection to a control population. Recent association studies in pneumonia and sepsis will be reviewed. Recent findings: Most positive association studies examine genes for important inflammatory molecules such as tumor necrosis factor, the interleukin-1 family, interleukin-10, and angiotensin converting enzyme, as well as molecules important in antigen recognition, such as the mannose-binding lectin, CD-14, and toll-like receptors. Summary: A genetic component to risk of sepsis and resultant complications clearly exists. Confirmation of the findings in this review and associations with other genetic polymorphisms await large-scale population studies and further validation of the physiologic significance of the variant alleles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-389
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003


  • Angiotensin converting enzyme
  • Interleukin
  • Polymorphism
  • Sepsis
  • Tumor necrosis factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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