Sepsis, a systemic inflammation as a response to a bacterial infection, is a huge unmet medical need. Data accumulated over the last decade suggest that the nutritional status of patients as well as composition of their gut microbiome, are strongly linked with the risk to develop sepsis, the severity of the disease and prognosis. In particular, the essential micronutrient zinc is essential in the resistance against sepsis and has shown to be protective in animal models as well as in human patients. The potential mechanisms by which zinc protects in sepsis are discussed in this review paper: we will focus on the inflammatory response, chemotaxis, phagocytosis, immune response, oxidative stress and modulation of the microbiome. A full understanding of the mechanism of action of zinc may open new preventive and therapeutic interventions in sepsis.
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