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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Jan;31(1):73-6. doi: 10.1007/s10096-011-1278-y. Epub 2011 May 11.

Soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells in sputum of patients with community-acquired pneumonia or pulmonary tuberculosis: a pilot study.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa. grtintinger@gmail.com


Soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (s-TREM-1) is upregulated on the surface of inflammatory cells in the presence of bacterial infections, apparently excluding those due to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Therefore, sputum concentrations of s-TREM-1 may be of value in distinguishing bacterial pneumonia from pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in patients with respiratory infections. The current pilot study was designed to evaluate whether s-TREM-1 concentrations measured in the sputum of patients with suspected community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) allowed differentiation of those patients with PTB from other causes of pneumonia and to correlate s-TREM-1 with CURB-65, a marker of disease severity. Soluble s-TREM-1 concentrations were measured in sputum samples from patients admitted to a tertiary hospital with CAP or PTB by means of an ELISA procedure. Soluble-TREM-1 was readily detectable and quantifiable in sputum samples from patients with both CAP and PTB, with concentrations of 234±47 and 178±36 pg/ml respectively, but did not differ significantly between the two groups. However, patients with PTB had significantly lower leukocyte counts, 9±1.3 vs 15±1.4 × 10(9)/l compared with those without PTB. Interestingly, sputum s-TREM-1 concentrations correlated significantly with the CURB-65 pneumonia severity score calculated at the time of admission. Soluble-TREM-1 expression is upregulated in patients with both CAP and PTB, but does not differentiate between these two conditions. Sputum concentrations of s-TREM-1 may predict the severity of disease in patients with CAP.

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