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Volume 51, Number 4, August 2018

Identification of a panel of serum protein markers in early stage of sepsis and its validation in a cohort of patients 

Susana Garcia-Obregon, Mikel Azkargorta, Iratxe Seijas, Javier Pilar-Orive, Francisco Borrego, Felix Elortza, Maria Dolores Boyano, Itziar Astigarraga


Background and purpose: 

Sepsis is a life-threatening illness with a challenging diagnosis. Current serum biomarkers are not sensitive enough for diagnosis. With the aim of finding proteins associated with sepsis, serum protein profile was compared between patients and healthy donors and serum classical inflammatory proteins were analyzed in both groups. 



Serum protein profiles were characterized by two-dimensional electrophoresis (2DE). Identification of the proteins was carried out by mass spectrophotometry and their validation was performed by Enzyme-Linked-ImmunoSorbent Assay (ELISA) in a cohort of 85 patients and 67 healthy donors. Seven classical inflammatory proteins were analyzed in the same cohort by ELISA: interleukin-2 receptor α-chain (sCD25), scavenger receptor cysteine-rich-type-1 (sCD163), tumor-necrosis factor receptor superfamily-member-6 (sFas), hemeoxigenase-1 decycling (HO-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-18 (IL-18) and intercellular adhesion-molecule-1 (sICAM-1). 



After 2DE, 20 significantly differently expressed spots were identified by mass spectrometry analysis, revealing deregulation of six different proteins upon sepsis and 50% were validated by ELISA: Antithrombin-III (AT-III), Clusterin (CLUS) and Serum amyloid A-1 (SAA-1). Serum concentration of AT-III and CLUS was significantly lower in patients′ serum, whereas SAA-1 showed higher values in septic patients. Serum concentration of the seven inflammatory proteins was significantly increased in septic patients. Functional analysis of the ten deregulated proteins revealed an enrichment of proteins related mainly to the activation of the immune response. 



We have identified a panel of ten potential sepsis marker proteins biologically connected and validated in a large number of patients, whose analysis could be considered as a complementary tool for the diagnosis of sepsis. 


Key words:

ELISA, Mass spectrometry analysis, Proteome, Sepsis, Septic shock, Serum markers