Separating signal from noise: The challenge of identifying useful biomarkers in sepsis

Russell J. McCulloh, John A. Spertus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Sepsis diagnosis remains based largely on clinical presentation despite significant advances in the understanding of underlying pathophysiology and host-pathogen interactions. The systematic review article by Zonneveld and colleagues in the previous issue of Critical Care describes another potential avenue of study for using biomarkers for sepsis diagnosis and prognostication. Soluble leukocyte adhesion molecules and their associated sheddase enzymes vary in detectable levels and activity in patients in relation to immunologic status, age, and systemic inflammation, including in the setting of sepsis. Unfortunately, studies of these molecules as diagnostic or prognostic aids (or both) in sepsis have thus far been disappointing. Zonneveld and colleagues propose two potential avenues to enhance the performance characteristics of soluble adhesion molecules and their sheddases in sepsis diagnosis and prognosis: (a) identifying age-adjusted normal values for soluble leukocyte adhesion molecules and their sheddases and (b) investigating simultaneous measurement of both soluble adhesion molecules and sheddases in integrated sepsis evaluation schema. This commentary discusses the proposed solutions of Zonneveld and colleagues in more detail and outlines additional considerations that should be addressed in order to develop robust and valid diagnostic and prognostic tools for clinicians managing patients with sepsis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number121
JournalCritical Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 17 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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