The purpose of this study was to determine the value of prophylactic granulocyte transfusions in preventing death from sepsis. An intravenous dose of 10(9) Escherichia coli was lethal when given to granulocytopenic rats 6 days following irradiation with 750 rads. Only one of 22 irradiated animals survived the septicemia. Although normal (nonirradiated) animals experienced a transient leukopenia from this dose of organisms, it was less than LD10 for the normal host. There were no deaths in a group of animals receiving irradiation only. A group of 14 irradiated animals was given a single granulocyte transfusion 2 hr before the septic inoculum, and 57% of these animals survived (p less than 0.01). No antibiotic therapy was administered to any of these animals. Irradiated animals who received granulocytes and recovered from sepsis had earlier granulocyte reconstitution than animals irradiated but not given the septic challenge. Platelet reconstitution was the same in both groups. In the rat model, prophylactic granulocyte support of septc animals led to improved survival. It was concluded that granulocyte prophylaxis may be of value in selected patients with transient bone marrow failure who are therefore at high risk from sepsis.

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