Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2016 Apr 28;11(4):e0153765. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153765. eCollection 2016.

Serum Levels of TNF Receptor Ligands Are Dysregulated in Sepsis and Predict Mortality in Critically Ill Patients.

Author information

Department of Medicine III, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52074, Aachen, Germany.
Department of Internal Medicine III, University of Kiel, Schittenhelmstrasse 12, 24105, Kiel, Germany.



TNF superfamily members, including TNF-related weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) and Glucocorticoid-Induced TNFR-Related Protein Ligand (GITRL) have been described as serum based biomarkers for inflammatory and immune mediated diseases. However, up to now the role of TWEAK and GITRL has not been analyzed in critical illness and sepsis.


GITRL and TWEAK serum concentrations were measured in 121 critically ill patients (84 fulfilled with septic disease), in comparison to 50 healthy controls. Results were correlated with clinical data.


Serum levels of TWEAK and GITRL were strongly decreased in critically ill patients compared with healthy controls. Concentrations of TWEAK (but not GITRL) were further decreased in patients with sepsis and correlated with routinely used markers of inflammation and bacterial infection such as C-reactive protein, procalcitonin and Interleukin-6. Notably, we failed to detect a correlation to other TNFR ligands such as TNF or APRIL. Finally, TWEAK levels of the upper quartile of the cohort were prognostic for mortality during ICU treatment.


TWEAK and GITRL levels were lower in intensive care unit medical patients. Levels of TWEAK were further decreased in septic patients, and alterations in TWEAK concentrations were linked to an unfavorable outcome. Together with recently published results on other TNFR ligands, these data indicate specific functions of the different TNFR ligands in septic diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center