Dogging Sepsis

Veterinarian Cynthia Otto: Tracking Immune Response Gone Haywire

Cynthia Otto Stalks Sepsis

Veterinarian Otto traces the cellular origins of sepsis.



Is NO always harmful to humans?

Photo: Sabina Louise Pierce

Answer: No

NO is full of possibility

Normal Immune Response

Haywire Immune Response:
NO Way Out Hypothesis

Garage Gadget Tests Hypothesis

Forced-convection cell-culture system


Photo: Alisa Zapp Machalek

Take a Breath

When you breathe, oxygen travels

Copyright Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.

Battle to Breathe

Animal Models for Human Conditions

Patient in intensive care unit on a ventilator

Otto used anesthetized rabbits to study how ventilators affect alveoli in the collapsed lungs of humans

Photo: Chris Gregerson

Findings: Otto's Rabbit Experiment

  1. Oxygen levels fluctuated wildly in the ventilated, anesthetized rabbit.

  2. The alveoli snapped open and closed with each pump of the ventilator.

  3. The breathing machine could not maintain the inflated, semi-full structure typical of alveoli in healthy animals or people.

  4. The continual stress of expanding and deflating alveoli appears to wear them out.

  5. Ventilators may damage lungs by eroding their cellular fabric.

Research Applications

How might Otto's research of hypoxia and ventilator-associated lung damage be applied to the care of patients who suffer trauma or severe infection?