Current theories underline the crucial role of pro-inflammatory mediators produced by monocytes for the pathogenesis of sepsis. Since monocytes derive from progenitor hemopoetic cells, the kinetics of stem cells was studied in peripheral blood of patients with sepsis.
Blood was sampled from 44 patients with septic syndrome due to ventilator-associated pneumonia on days 1, 3, 5 and 7 upon initiation of symptoms. Concentrations of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα), interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8 and G-CSF were estimated by ELISA. CD34/CD45 cells were determined after incubation with anti-CD45 FITC and anti-CD34 PE monocloncal antibodies and flow cytometric analysis. Samples from eight healthy volunteers served as controls.
Median of CD34/CD45 absolute count of controls was 1.0/μl. Respective values of the total study population were 123.4, 112.4, 121.5 and 120.9/μl on days 1, 3, 5 and 7 (p < 0.0001 compared to controls). Positive correlations were found between the absolute CD34/CD45 count and the absolute monocyte count on days 1, 5 and 7. Survival was prolonged among patients with less than 310/μl CD34/CD45 cells on day 1 compared to those with more than 310/μl of CD34/CD45 cells (p: 0.022). Hazard ratio for death due to sepsis was 5.47 (p: 0.039) for CD34/CD45 cells more than 310/μl. Median IL-6 on day 1 was 56.78 and 233.85 pg/ml respectively for patients with less than 310/μl and more than 310/μl CD34/CD45 cells (p: 0.021).
Stem cells are increased in peripheral blood over all days of follow-up compared to healthy volunteers. Patients with counts on day 1 less than 310/μl are accompanied by increased survival compared to patients with more than 310/μl.