<h4>Purpose of review</h4>Anesthetics are known to have immunomodulatory effects. These can be detrimental, inducing immunosuppression and facilitating the development of opportunistic infections, especially when used at high doses, for prolonged periods, or in patients with preexisting immune deficiency; or beneficial, modulating the inflammatory response, particularly in critical illness and systemic hyperinflammatory states.<h4>Recent findings</h4>Anesthetics can have microbicidal properties, and both anti- and pro-inflammatory effects. They can act directly on immune cells as well as modulate immunity through indirect pathways, acting on the neuroimmune stress response, and have recently been described to interact with the gut microbiota.<h4>Summary</h4>Anesthesiologists should take into consideration the immunomodulatory properties of anesthetic agents in addition to their hemodynamic, neuroprotective, and other impacts. In future, patient stratification according to the perioperative assessment of serum biomarkers associated with postoperative complications may be used to guide anesthetic agent selection based on their immunomodulatory properties.
Curr Opin Anaesthesiol (Current opinion in anaesthesiology)
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