Endoplasmic reticulum stress in sepsis

Mohammad Moshahid Khan, Weng Lang Yang, Ping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Sepsis is an enormous public health issue and the leading cause of death in critically ill patients in intensive care units. Overwhelming inflammation, characterized by cytokine storm, oxidative threats, and neutrophil sequestration, is an underlying component of sepsis-associated organ failure. Despite recent advances in sepsis research, there is still no effective treatment available beyond the standard of care and supportive therapy. To reduce sepsis-related mortality, a better understanding of the biological mechanism associated with sepsis is essential. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER), a subcellular organelle, is responsible for the facilitation of protein folding and assembly and involved in several other physiological activities. Under stress and inflammatory conditions, ER loses homeostasis in its function, which is termed ER stress. During ER stress, unfolded protein response (UPR) is activated to restore ER function to its normal balance. However, once stress is beyond the compensatory capacity of UPR or protracted, apoptosis would be initiated by triggering cell injuries, even cell death. As such, ER stress and UPR are reported to be implicated in several pathological and inflammatory conditions. Although the detrimental role of ER stress during infections has been demonstrated, there is growing evidence that ER stress participates in the pathogenesis of sepsis. In this review, we summarize current research in the context of ER stress and UPR signaling associated with sepsis and its related clinical conditions, such as trauma-hemorrhage and ischemia/ reperfusion injury. We also discuss the potential implications of ER stress as a novel therapeutic target and prognostic marker in patients with sepsis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-304
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • ER stress
  • Inflammation
  • Sepsis
  • UPR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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