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Biomarker Identifies Septic Patients at Higher Risk for Mortality

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 28 Jan 2020
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Image: Blood smear of patient with intracellular cocci in pairs inside a white blood cell, possibly indicating sepsis. Oncostatin-M is a biomarker for sepsis risk (Photo courtesy of Dr. Wim van der Meer).
Image: Blood smear of patient with intracellular cocci in pairs inside a white blood cell, possibly indicating sepsis. Oncostatin-M is a biomarker for sepsis risk (Photo courtesy of Dr. Wim van der Meer).
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body's response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs. Common signs and symptoms include fever, increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, and confusion.

Oncostatin-M (OSM) is a pleiotropic cytokine of the interleukin-6 (IL-6) family. OSM secretion has been associated with the modulation of multiple inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoarthritis, hepatic cellular carcinoma and bacterial pneumonia. However, the role of OSM in sepsis has remained unclear.
Laboratory scientists at the Chongqing Medical University (Chongqing, China) enrolled 49 patients with sepsis at the Second Affiliated Hospital of the university intensive care unit (ICU) between October 2017 and December 2018 and analyzed serum OSM levels on their day of admission. The effects of OSM on polymicrobial sepsis induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) were assessed.

The team reported that results of the study showed that on day 1 of ICU admission, septic patients had higher serum OSM levels compared with ICU patient controls and healthy volunteers. Further, they found that a high serum OSM level at ICU admission was independently predictive of 28-day mortality in septic patients, as was SOFA score. They reported that the area under the curve (AUC) of OSM for predicting 28-day mortality in septic patients was 0.80 on day of ICU admission which was significantly higher than that of SOFA score (AUC, 0.730) and procalcitonin (AUC, 0.65). The findings were supported in a mouse model. In CLP-induced polymicrobial sepsis, anti-OSM antibody decreased tissue inflammation and injury, and thus improved survival, while local and systemic bacterial dissemination was almost constant.

The authors concluded that their pilot study found a significant elevation in the serum OSM levels in the patients with sepsis, and OSM levels correlated with disease severity of sepsis. Moreover, the serum OSM level on day of ICU admission was related to 28-day mortality in septic patients. These results suggest that OSM measurement may represent a new biomarker for identification of a group of septic patients presenting with higher risk of mortality. The study was published on January 13, 2020 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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Chongqing Medical University

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