Extensive burn injury results in a complex immune response that is associated with mortality and prognosis. Studies on acquired immune and the development of sepsis in burn patients have been reported. However, one of the main cells in innate immune, neutrophil dysfunction in the burn shock stage has not been thoroughly characterized.
Neutrophil chemotaxis, expression of neutrophil surface markers (P2X1 receptor, [P2RX1]), degranulation (myeloperoxidase [MPO], heparin-binding protein [HBP], matrix metalloproteinase-9 [MMP-9] and neutrophil elastase [NE]), oxidative burst capacity, neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) generation, phagocytosis and apoptosis were measured in 18 patients with major burns (≥30% total body surface area [TBSA]) within 48 h after burn injury. In addition, circulating neutrophils and vascular permeability in mice model with 30% TBSA third-degree burns were also observed and investigated.
Neutrophil functions were reduced considerably in burn shock stage, which was characterized by decreased chemotaxis, phagocytosis and abnormal bactericidal function. Increased release of heparin-binding protein (HBP) and the expression of P2RX1 on the neutrophil surface are related to fluid leakage and decreased chemotaxis during burn shock stage, respectively. The combination of HBP concentration in plasma and P2RX1 expression on neutrophils gives a better prediction of neutrophil dysfunction in burn-injured patients.
Neutrophil dysfunction plays a key role in the development of burn injury. Targeting the restoration of neutrophil function may be a feasible therapeutic intervention to help reduce fluid loss during shock and the severity of subsequent infection.

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