Our objective was to investigate the levels of chemokines (MIP1-α, MCP-1, and Gro-α), Interleukin-18 (IL-18), and Interleukin (IL-6) in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and serum at the onset and ongoing states of sepsis as defined by the American College of Chest Physicians/Society of Critical Care Medicine in septic surgical ICU patients. Our summary background data was to understand the significance of compartmentalized inflammatory mediator production in an immunologically active organ (lung) in comparison with levels in the systemic circulation. The study group consisted of 20 septic patients and 10 non-septic patients on surgical ICU. At the onset of sepsis, both BAL fluid and serum samples were taken and levels of MIP-1α, MCP-1, GRO-α, IL-18, and IL-6 were measured by ELISA. Furthermore, over a subsequent 8-day period, levels of these mediators were determined in serum. In some experiments, IL-18 mRNA levels were determined in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) of septic and non-septic patients. At the onset of sepsis, MIP-1α, MCP-1, GRO-α, IL-18, and IL-6 levels were significantly up-regulated in BAL fluid as compared with non-septic controls. In marked contrast, with the exception of IL-18 mRNA and IL-6 peptide, there was no increase in serum levels of inflammatory mediators determined both at the onset and during the ongoing states of sepsis. Based on the present data, monitoring levels of serum chemokines and IL-18 protein as markers of sepsis might be misleading since despite their non-detection in serum, they were highly up-regulated in the lung tissue compartment. These data might underscore the role of MIP-1α, MCP-1, GRO-α, and IL-18 in the mediation of local tissue damage. Furthermore, these findings raise the notion that mediator measurement in immunologically active organs might serve as pivotal indicators of sepsis prior to the actual fulfillment of specific clinical criteria that defines the patient as being septic.
*Department of Surgery, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany; †XTL Biopharmaceuticals Ltd., Rehovot, Israel; ‡Biochemical and Experimental Division, Department of Surgery, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany; and §Department of Medicine, University of Cologne, Germany
Received 29 May 2000; first review completed 20 Jun 2000; accepted in final form 25 Aug 2000
Address reprint requests to Guenther Mathiak, M.D., Department of Trauma Surgery, University of Bonn, Sigmund-Frend-Str. 25, 53105 Bonn, Germany.
Supported by: Cologne Fortune program (grant no. 51/98), Faculty of Medicine, University of Cologne, Germany.
©2001The Shock Society