Background: S100A12 is a calcium-binding protein predominantly expressed in neutrophil granulocytes in response to infections or inflammation. Acute otitis media (AOM) is a local infection mainly caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (Spn), nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), and/or Moraxella catarrhalis (Mcat).
Methods: To study if S100A12 values could serve as a diagnostic marker, serum S100A12 concentrations were tested in young children before, at onset, and after recovery from AOM.
Results: Among 116 children with AOM, we found that serum S100A12 concentrations were significantly increased at onset of AOM compared with before infection (P = 0.0001), and returned to normal levels when the children recovered from the infection (P = 0.01). Elevation of S100A12 correlated with the presence of Spn (P = 0.004) or NTHi (P = 0.04) in the middle ear, but not with Mcat or upper respiratory viral infection. Change in serum value of S100A12 at onset of AOM was not related to the frequency of occurrence of AOM or the age of the child.
Conclusion: S100A12 may be a useful biomarker for onset of AOM due to Spn and NTHi, and for following children with AOM.