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Shock. 2007 Dec;28(6):668-674.

Early versus late onset of multiple organ failure is associated with differing patterns of plasma cytokine biomarker expression and outcome after severe trauma.

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Department of Trauma, Hand and Reconstruction Surgery, Medical School of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany.


Although multiple organ failure (MOF) remains the leading cause of death after trauma, the pathogenic cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying MOF are poorly understood. In addition to proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediator cascades, the temporal onset of MOF has generated recent interest because the organ systems involved into MOF seem to deteriorate in a time-dependent fashion after trauma. We therefore investigated the temporal course of MOF in traumatized human patients and evaluated and compared the distribution patterns of cytokine expression, including interleukin (IL) 6, IL-8, IL-10, and the soluble tumor necrosis factor-[alpha] receptors sTNF-R p55 and sTNF-R p75 in early-onset versus late-onset MOF. In addition, we analyzed the predictive value of cytokine biomarkers of MOF and lethal outcome. In a prospective observational cohort study conducted at three trauma centers, all patients (n = 352) admitted to two level 1 trauma centers in Germany were enrolled in the study based on the following inclusion criteria: severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) with a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 8 or lower and/or distinct changes in cranial computed tomography and/or multiple injuries (MT) to the body (at least two regions had Abbreviated Injury Scale score of 3 or higher). The incidence of MOF was evaluated using the modified Goris-MOF score. The temporal onset of MOF was divided into early-onset MOF (EMOF, developing on days 0-3), late-onset MOF (LMOF, developing on days 4-10), combined early-onset and late-onset MOF (CMOF), and patients never showing signs of MOF during the observation period. In addition, the levels of the serum cytokine markers IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, sTNF-R p55, and sTNF-R p75 were analyzed at specific posttraumatic time points using established enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay techniques. A total of 352 patients (274 men and 78 women; TBI, 101; TBI + MT, 125; MT, 126) were enrolled into the study. Patients assigned to the EMOF group showed specific disruption of pulmonary and cardiocirculatory function, whereas LMOF was significantly associated with hepatic failure. The patients without signs of MOF and the EMOF patients had the same risk of lethal outcome (8.2% vs. 7.5%); LMOF and CMOF were found to be associated with a 3- to 4-fold increase in mortality (38.5% vs. 30.6%, respectively). Analysis of cytokine serum biomarkers revealed that patients with LMOF showed a biphasic elevation of IL-6 and significantly higher sTNF-R concentrations than did all other subgroups (P < 0.001). In addition, the initial values (days 0-1) of sTNF-R p55 and sTNF-R p75 expression levels had a good predictive capacity for the development of LMOF (p55, 0.75; p75, 0.72); values greater than 0.65 were accepted to have a predictive capacity. These results demonstrate that mortality differs significantly between the development of EMOF and LMOF after traumatic injury. Our results also suggest that serum cytokine measurements may be important early biochemical markers for predicting the development of delayed MOF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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