Review Article

Innate immune responses to trauma

  • Nature Immunologyvolume 19pages327341 (2018)
  • doi:10.1038/s41590-018-0064-8
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Trauma can affect any individual at any location and at any time over a lifespan. The disruption of macrobarriers and microbarriers induces instant activation of innate immunity. The subsequent complex response, designed to limit further damage and induce healing, also represents a major driver of complications and fatal outcome after injury. This Review aims to provide basic concepts about the posttraumatic response and is focused on the interactive events of innate immunity at frequent sites of injury: the endothelium at large, and sites within the lungs, inside and outside the brain and at the gut barrier.

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We thank R. Halbgebauer and D. McClellan for editorial assistance, and S. Denk for graphical support. Supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG CRC1149 and DFG EI866/5-1), the US National Institutes of Health (AI068730, AI030040) and the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (under grant agreement number 602699 (DIREKT)).

Author information


  1. Institute of Clinical and Experimental Trauma-Immunology, University Hospital of Ulm, Ulm, Germany

    • Markus Huber-Lang
  2. Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

    • John D. Lambris
  3. Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

    • Peter A. Ward


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All authors researched the data for the article, contributed to discussions of the content, wrote the text and reviewed or edited the article before submission.

Competing interests

M.H.-L. and P.A.W. hold a patent on compositions and methods for the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis (US 7455837). J.D.L. is the founder of Amyndas Pharmaceuticals, which is developing complement inhibitors (including third-generation compstatin analogs such as AMY-101), and is the inventor of patents or patent applications that describe the use of complement inhibitors for therapeutic purposes, some of which are developed by Amyndas Pharmaceuticals. J.D.L. is also the inventor of the compstatin technology licensed to Apellis Pharmaceuticals (4(1MeW)7W/POT-4/APL-1 and PEGylated derivatives such as APL-2).

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Markus Huber-Lang.