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Clin Chim Acta. 2002 Sep;323(1-2):17-29.

Pathobiochemistry and clinical use of procalcitonin.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University of Jena, Bachstr 18, D-07743, Jena, Germany.


Induction of the protein procalcitonin during infection and inflammation was first described approximately 10 years ago. A large number of publications, primarily clinical studies, demonstrate the increasing use of procalcitonin in modern clinical practice. However, data on the biological function and origin of procalcitonin is scarce. Findings regarding the possible role and source of procalcitonin in sepsis and infection were recently published, and the pathophysiology of the protein has meanwhile been investigated in various experimental models. Procalcitonin obviously has certain biological functions, and it is also known to be specifically induced. Given the hormonal origin of the mature protein and the inflammation-related functions of its propeptides, some investigators suggest that procalcitonin should be referred to as a "hormokine," although its biological functions should be studied in more detail. This review will survey the data now available in recent publications on the induction, production sources, possible biological functions and clinical uses of procalcitonin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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