Negative effect of high temperature (fever) on immunity
We have already said that fever can to some extent increase the body’s immune response to infection. However, other authors indicate that high and prolonged fever can disrupt the immune response.
As shown by Ellingson, at body temperatures above 40 ° C, the ability of polymorphonuclear leukocytes to phagocytosis of staphylococci is reduced. Austin indicated that polymorphonuclear leukocytes destroy staphylococcus initially more vigorously at 40 ° C than at 38 ° C, but while maintaining the temperature at 40 ° C for 2 hours, he noted the opposite phenomenon.
Roberts showed that the transformation of lymphocytes under the influence of a mitogen at 38.5 ° C is higher than at 37 ° C, but at 40 ° C the viability and functional activity of lymphocytes decreased.
The literature on this issue is controversial. In 1909, Ruata discovered that in guinea pigs with sepsis caused by a gram-negative pathogen, higher lethality was observed at high temperatures of the external environment than at normal temperatures.
A number of studies have found that mortality from bacterial endotoxemia increases during fever in mice and other laboratory animals. For example, Klastersky, when studying pneumococcal peritonitis in rabbits that received suboptimal doses of penicillin, showed that preventing fever by mowing animal hair leads to a decrease in mortality.
The results of some of these studies indicate that hypothermia may be just as unfavorable as hyperthermia, and the best chances of survival appear to be observed with eutermia. According to some authors, the protective effect of corticosteroids with endotoxin shock, probably due to their hypothermic effect.