Patients without spleens have an increased risk of infection. Previous studies have shown that splenectomy (Spx) influences Kupffer cells (KC), peritoneal macrophages (pMφ) and alveolar macrophages (aMφ) phagocytosis and bactericidal activity. This study examined the effect of Spx on the cytokine production by peripheral blood monocular cells (PBMC), KC, aMφ, pMφ and cells from mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN). We also determined if Spx influences survival following sepsis induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). C57BL/6J male mice (8-10 weeks old) underwent sham operation or Spx. Two weeks after sham or Spx, KC, pMφ, aMφ, PBMC and cells from MLN were isolated and stimulated with LPS. Cell-free supernatants were analyzed for TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-10. A significant increase in KC, pMφ and aMφ TNF-α and IL-6 release was observed following Spx. The production of IL-10 was also significantly higher in KC under those conditions. In contrast, the release of TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-10 was significantly decreased in PBMC after Spx. Similarly, TNF-α and IL-6 was also decreased in MLN after Spx. Overall survival after CLP was not different in mice subjected to either sham or Spx. However, the mean time to death was significantly decreased in mice subjected to Spx compared to sham injured mice. These findings suggest that Spx modulates immune cell functions in various tissue compartments of the body and results in early deaths following sepsis. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.