Immune cell subsets in necrotizing fasciitis: An immunohistochemical analysis

A. J. Saenz, A. F. Koreishi, A. E. Rosenberg, R. L. Kradin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Current concepts of the pathophysiology of necrotizing fasciitis (NF), a life-threatening infection of soft tissues associated with a toxic shock syndrome, emphasizes the role of bacterial superantigens as mediators of cytokine release by immune lymphocytes. In order to assess the cellular basis of immune activation, immunohistochemistry was applied to the analysis of inflammatory cell subsets in situ in 13 patients with NF. The percentage of inflammatory cells in skin and soft tissue was scored from 0 to 3+ (>50%). Substantial numbers of CD15+ polymorphonuclear leukocytes were present in 12 of 13 patients. CD3+ T-lymphocytes accounted for >10%, CD68+ macrophages for >50%, and Factor XIIIa+ mononuclear cells for >10% of the mononuclear cell infiltrates, respectively, in 10 of 13 patients, whereas CD1a+ cells were present in only 3 of 13 cases and accounted for <10% of mononuclear inflammatory cells. We conclude that immune lymphocytes and accessory immune cells are represented in substantial numbers in the early lesions of NF, and their presence supports current concepts with respect to the pathophysiology of this disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Skin
  • Streptococci
  • Toxic shock

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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