Neurochemical Research

, Volume 33, Issue 11, pp 2171–2177

The Septic Brain

  • Emilio L. Streck
  • Clarissa M. Comim
  • Tatiana Barichello
  • João Quevedo


Sepsis is a major disease entity with important clinical implications. Sepsis-induced multiple organ failure is associated with a high mortality rate in humans and is clinically characterized by pulmonary, cardiovascular, renal and gastrointestinal dysfunction. Recently, several studies have demonstrated that sepsis survivors present long-term cognitive impairment, including alterations in memory, attention, concentration and/or global loss of cognitive function. However, the pathogenesis and natural history of septic encephalopathy and cognitive impairment are still poorly known and further understanding of these processes is necessary for the development of effective preventive and therapeutic interventions. This review discusses the clinical presentation and underlying pathophysiology of the encephalopathy and cognitive impairment associated with sepsis.


Sepsis Encephalopathy Cognitive impairment 



Serotonin receptor type 1A


Adrenocorticotropic hormone


Adenosine monophosphate cyclic


Blood–brain barrier


Brain derived-neurotrofic factor


Cecal ligation and perforation


Central nervous system




cAMP response element-binding


Intensive care unit


Gama-aminobutyric acid receptor type A




Mitogen-activated protein kinase




N-Methyl-d-aspartic acid


Neuron-specific enolase


Protein kinase A


Protein kinase C


Messenger ribonucleic acid


Septic encephalopathy


Systemic inflammatory response syndrome


Vesicle transporters of acetylcholine


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emilio L. Streck
    • 1
  • Clarissa M. Comim
    • 2
  • Tatiana Barichello
    • 1
  • João Quevedo
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratório de Fisiopatologia Experimental, Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências da Saúde, Unidade Acadêmica de Ciências da SaúdeUniversidade do Extremo Sul CatarinenseCriciumaBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Neurociências, Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências da Saúde, Unidade Acadêmica de Ciências da SaúdeUniversidade do Extremo Sul CatarinenseCriciumaBrazil

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