The molecule CD14 acts as a receptor for the protein-bound endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide [LPS]) complex and mediates the cellular effects of LPS. The soluble formation, sCD14, is supposed to neutralize circulating LPS (ie, LPS antagonist) or transfer LPS effects to endothelial cells (ie, LPS agonist).
To elucidate the release of sCD 14 per se in patients with major trauma in the early posttrauma period. Our a priori hypothesis was that sCD 14 release depends on the plasma LPS concentration simultaneously measured.
In a prospective study, 65 patients with multiple injuries (Injury Severity Score, 9-75) were enrolled. The patients were rescued by the medical helicopter service and directly admitted to our clinics. The plasma concentrations of sCD14 (enzyme immunoassay) and LPS (chromogenic limulus amebocyte lysate test) were analyzed. The first blood sample was collected immediately at the accident site. The following samples were drawn at intervals from 2 hours to daily for 2 weeks.
Sixty-one patients survived the observation time. Immediately after trauma, their mean sCD14 level was not different from that of healthy individuals. Two hours later, a pronounced increase of sCD14 was observed and sustained throughout the observation period. Even nonsurvivors showed an increased sCD14 release, but less pronounced. In all patients, plasma LPS levels were elevated during the first 12 hours.
Major trauma caused an increased release of sCD14. This elevation, however, was not correlated to LPS levels or to the severity of trauma (estimated by trauma scores). We found no evidence that sCD14 levels are of prognostic value regarding survival. Furthermore, the release of sCD14 did not occur in an LPS-neutralizing manner, but rendered possible an LPS-independent mechanism.Arch Surg. 1997;132:1116-1120