Utility of cytokine, adhesion molecule and acute phase proteins in early diagnosis of neonatal sepsis

M. A. Fattah, Al Fadhil A. Omer, S. Asaif, R. Manlulu, T. Karar, A. Ahmed, A. Aljada, Ayman M. Saleh, Shoeb Qureshi*, A. Nasr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background and Aim: Neonatal infection, including bacterial sepsis, is a major health care issue with an annual global mortality in excess of one million lives. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the potential diagnostic value of C-reactive protein (CRP), E-selectin, procalcitonin (PCT), interleukins-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) both independently and in combination for the diagnosis of neonatal sepsis in its earliest stages. Materials and Methods: A total of 320 subjects were included in this study. A prospective cross-sectional study was conducted among neonates admitted to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, KSA during January 2013 to August 2015, the study based on three study groups categorized according to clinical symptoms and blood culture result. Study groups include healthy control neonates (n = 80), clinical sepsis (CS) group (n = 80) with clinical signs of sepsis but their blood culture was negative, and sepsis group with clinical signs of sepsis and their blood culture was positive. Results: The study observed significant difference in plasma levels of CRP, IL-6, TNF-α, E-selectin, and PCT in patients group when compared with control group (P < 0.001). Furthermore, the levels are significantly different between patient groups including CS and neonatal sepsis group. Moreover, result observed significant difference in CRP and IL-6 in early onset sepsis (EOS) when compared with late onset sepsis (LOS) neonates (P < 0.001 and 0.01), respectively, while there were no significant difference in TNF-α, E-selectin, and PCT between EOS and LOS (P = 0.44, 0.27 and 0.24), respectively. Regarding biomarkers accuracy, the result showed that CRP has the best diagnostic accuracy with cutoff value of 3.6 ng/ml (sensitivity 78% and specificity of 70%). The best combination is shown with CRP and IL-6 in which sensitivity increased to 89% and specificity to 79%. Conclusion: It was concluded that infected new-born babies have a higher E-selectin, PCT, IL-6, TNF-α, and CRP compared with the neonates with CS and control. IL-6, TNF-α, and CRP should be measured in combination for mare diagnostic accuracy in neonatal sepsis. Likewise, PCT should be investigated as a part of sepsis screening for all suspected neonates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • C-reactive protein
  • E-selectin
  • cytokines
  • diagnostic accuracy
  • early onset sepsis
  • late onset sepsis
  • neonatal sepsis
  • procalcitonin


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