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Mussack, Thomas; Briegel, Josef; Schelling, Gustav; Biberthaler, Peter und Jochum, Marianne (2005): Effect of stress doses of hydrocortisone on S-100B vs. interleukin-8 and polymorphonuclear elastase levels in human septic shock. In: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Vol. 43, Nr. 3: S. 259-268


Stress doses of hydrocortisone a re known to have immunomodulatory effects in patients with hyperdynamic septic shock. The prognosis correlates with the presence and severity of septic encephalopathy. However, neurological evaluation is influenced by the use of analgesia sedation during artificial ventilation. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the effect of stress doses of hydrocortisone during the initial phase of human septic shock on the serum values of the neurospecific protein S-100B in comparison to the inflammation markers interleukin (IL)-8 in serum and polymorphonuclear (PMN) elastase in plasma. A total of 24 consecutive patients, who met the American College of Chest Physicians/Society of Critical Care Medicine criteria for septic shock, were enrolled in this prospective, randomized, double-blind, single-center trial. The severity of illness at recruitment was graded using the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation 11 and the Simplified Acute Physiology Score 11 scoring systems. Multi-organ dysfunction syndrome was described by the Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score. All patients were prospectively randomized to receive either stress doses of hydrocortisone or placebo. Hydrocortisone was started in 12 patients with a loading dose of 100 mg and followed by a continuous infusion of 0.18 mg/kg/h for 6 days. Median S-100B serum levels of the hydrocortisone group decreased from 0.32 ng/mL at study entry to 0.07 ng/mL 6 days later without significant differences compared to the placebo group. Initial IL-8 serum levels were significantly higher in the hydrocortisone group up to 12 h after study entry, and significantly decreased from 715 to 17 pg/mL at the end of the observation period. Median PMN elastase plasma levels were not affected by hydrocortisone infusion. Patients with initial S-100B serum levels >0.50 ng/mL revealed significantly higher SOFA scores up to 30 h, IL-8 serum levels up to 12 h, and PMN elastase plasma levels up to 36 h after study entry than those patients with <= 0.50 ng/mL. These effects were independent of the amount of fluid correction for hemodilution. Starting S-100B, IL-8 and PMN elastase values of the hydrocortisone group were within the ranges already known in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest or severe traumatic brain injury. Stress doses of hydrocortisone resulted in a significant reduction in IL-8 serum, but not in S-100B serum and PMN elastase plasma concentrations in patients with hyperdynamic septic shock. For the first time, a similar extent of S-100B increase in serum of septic patients at the time of diagnosis was shown as reported for cardiac arrest or severe traumatic brain injury.