Sepsis is a frequently fatal condition characterized by an uncontrolled and harmful host reaction to microbial infection. Despite the prevalence and severity of sepsis, we lack a fundamental grasp of its pathophysiology. Here we report that the cytokine interleukin-3 (IL-3) potentiates inflammation in sepsis. Using a mouse model of abdominal sepsis, we showed that innate response activator B cells produce IL-3, which induces myelopoiesis of Ly-6Chigh monocytes and neutrophils and fuels a cytokine storm. IL-3 deficiency protects mice against sepsis. In humans with sepsis, high plasma IL-3 levels are associated with high mortality even after adjusting for prognostic indicators. This study deepens our understanding of immune activation, identifies IL-3 as an orchestrator of emergency myelopoiesis, and reveals a new therapeutic target for treating sepsis.
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