Serum cytokine differences in severely burned children with and without sepsis

Celeste C. Finnerty, David N. Herndon, David L. Chinkes, Marc G. Jeschke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations


The aim was to determine whether serum cytokine profiling early after burn can be used to identify patients at high risk of developing and subsequently dying of sepsis. A case series study was designed to determine whether serum cytokine profiling allows identification of patients at highest risk of developing and dying of sepsis at the time of hospital admission. All patients were treated according to the standard of burn care at our facility. Forty-four children (1-19 years old) with more than 40% of total body surface area and admitted within 7 days postburn were studied. None had infections or sepsis at the time of admission. Serum was collected before the first operation, and concentrations of 17 cytokines were measured. Diagnosis of sepsis was made at autopsy with identification of the pathogen. Fifteen patients developed sepsis and died, whereas 29 patients did not develop sepsis and survived. Significant elevations in serum interleukin (IL) 6, IL-8, IL-10, granulocyte-monocyte colony-stimulating factor, interferon γ (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and IL-12 p70 were found at the time of admission of patients who subsequently developed and died of sepsis when compared with burned patients who did not develop sepsis (P < 0.05). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that patients with a combination of elevated IL-6 and IL-12 p70 and lower TNF had an elevated risk of dying of sepsis. Serum IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, granulocyte-monocyte colony-stimulating factor, IFN-γ, TNF, and IL-12 p70 are expressed differently in patients who die of sepsis versus those who never become septic. In addition, serum IL-6, IL-12 p70, and TNF can be used to identify burned patients who are at high risk of death from sepsis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-9
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007



  • Burn
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation
  • Pediatric
  • Sepsis
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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