New publication!

Our new article has been accepted in Frontiers in Medicine:

Jung AL, Han M, Griss K, Bertrams W, Nell C, Greulich T, Klemmer A, Pott H, Heider D, Vogelmeier CF, Hippenstiel S, Suttorp NW, Schmeck BT: Novel protein biomarkers for pneumonia and acute exacerbations in COPD: a pilot study. Frontiers in Medicine 2023, 10:1180746. (Link)


Introduction: Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) result in high morbidity, mortality, and socio-economic burden. The usage of easily accessible biomarkers informing on disease entity, severity, prognosis, and pathophysiological endotypes is limited in clinical practice. Here, we have analyzed selected plasma markers for their value in differential diagnosis and severity grading in a clinical cohort.

Methods: A pilot cohort of hospitalized patients suffering from CAP (n = 27), AECOPD (n = 10), and healthy subjects (n = 22) were characterized clinically. Clinical scores (PSI, CURB, CRB65, GOLD I-IV, and GOLD ABCD) were obtained, and interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8), interleukin-2-receptor (IL-2R), lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP), resistin, thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), lactotransferrin (LTF), neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), neutrophil-elastase-2 (ELA2), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), soluble Fas (sFas), as well as TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) were measured in plasma.

Results: In CAP patients and healthy volunteers, we found significantly different levels of ELA2, HGF, IL-2R, IL-6, IL-8, LBP, resistin, LTF, and TRAIL. The panel of LBP, sFas, and TRAIL could discriminate between uncomplicated and severe CAP. AECOPD patients showed significantly different levels of LTF and TRAIL compared to healthy subjects. Ensemble feature selection revealed that CAP and AECOPD can be discriminated by IL-6, resistin, together with IL-2R. These factors even allow the differentiation between COPD patients suffering from an exacerbation or pneumonia.

Discussion: Taken together, we identified immune mediators in patient plasma that provide information on differential diagnosis and disease severity and can therefore serve as biomarkers. Further studies are required for validation in bigger cohorts.

Written by: Dominik Heider