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PLoS One. 2013 Dec 12;8(12):e82204. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082204. eCollection 2013.

Soluble tumor necrosis factor related apoptosis inducing ligand level as a predictor of severity of sepsis and the risk of mortality in septic patients.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Changhai Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China ; Department of Anesthesiology, Naval General Hospital, Beijing, China.
Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Changhai Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China.



Tumor necrosis factor related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) as a member of the TNF gene superfamily induces apoptosis primarily in tumor cells. TRAIL also plays an important role in the modulation of inflammatory responses, especially in the process of immune paralysis. The aim of the present study was to examine soluble TRAIL (sTRAIL) levels in septic patients in an attempt to explore the association between sTRAIL level and the risk of mortality.


Plasma sTRAIL levels were detected by ELISA in 50 septic patients and 20 healthy volunteers. HLA-DR expression in monocytes was detected by flow cytometry. Selective biochemical parameters were recorded, and patients were monitored in a 28-day period for mortality.


The mean plasma sTRAIL level in septic patients was significantly lower than that in healthy controls (16.9±8.3 vs. 68.3±8.6 pg/ml, P<0.01), and was significantly higher in 28-day survivors than those in non-survivors (19.4±9.8 vs. 13.9±4.7 pg/ml, P<0.05). Univariate analysis indicated that plasma sTRAIL level was positively correlated with monocyte and lymphocyte counts and HLA-DR expression level (r = 0.5, P<0.01; r = 0.3, P<0.05; r = 0.43, P<0.01, respectively). STRAIL level was negatively correlated with APACHE II score, BUN and age (r = -0.48, P<0.01; r = -0.29, P<0.05; r = -0.45, P<0.01, respectively). Multiple linear regression analysis indicated that the predictor of plasma soluble TRAIL level was HLA-DR expression (P<0.01).


Low plasma sTRAIL levels were associated with immune paralysis and a high risk of mortality in patients with septic shock. sTRAIL may prove to be a potential biomarker of immune function and predict the survival of septic patients.

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