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Title: Lymphocyte dysfunction and postoperative morbidity
Author: Edwards, M. R.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Morbidity following major surgery is a growing healthcare problem. Previous studies have shown associations between preoperative lymphopenia and adverse postoperative outcomes, albeit in patient groups with multiple confounding factors. Lymphopenia is also associated with poor outcomes in a range of chronic and acute disease states including cardiac failure and sepsis, where lymphocyte dysfunction and excess lymphocyte apoptosis is observed. Cellular bioenergetic failure has been observed in these disease states and is proposed as a key pathophysiological mediator. The core hypothesis of this thesis is that preoperative lymphopenia is associated with increased morbidity after a standardized physiological insult due to underlying bioenergetic dysfunction. A large observational cohort study in patients undergoing elective lower limb arthroplasty showed preoperative lymphopenia to be a common phenomenon independently associated with increased postoperative morbidity and length of hospital stay. Further analysis of a subset of this cohort showed lymphopenia to be a chronic feature, not associated with common diagnoses known to cause lymphopenia. Immunophenotyping using flow cytometry confirmed lymphopenia affecting all lymphocyte subsets, but with normal monocyte and neutrophil number and function. Lymphocyte function was further explored using ex-vivo culture experiments in normal and lymphopenic subjects. In lymphopenic patients, lymphocyte apoptosis in response to a variety of insults was increased and ex-vivo stimulated lymphocyte proliferation was reduced. A novel experimental model was developed to assess lymphocyte bioenergetic function, using respirometry to assess glycolysis and mitochondrial function in freshly isolated cells. Lymphocytes from lymphopenic patients had global reductions in bioenergetic function and intracellular ATP content. In summary, chronic lymphopenia is common in the elective orthopaedic population and is robustly associated with adverse postoperative outcomes. The data here characterise a patient phenotype at increased perioperative risk. The underlying cellular dysfunction described may have important implications in a range of acute and chronic illnesses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available