Serum follistatin concentrations are increased in patients with septicaemia

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Follistatin (FS) is the specific binding protein of activin, a growth and differentiation factor of many cell types. Both factors have almost ubiquitous tissue distributions. In vitro, FS is secreted by vascular endothelial cells and this can be stimulated by bacterial compounds. For this reason, serum FS levels were examined in patients with septicaemia.

PATIENTS

Five male and four female patients of different age with various forms of septicaemia and different clinical outcome.

MEASUREMENTS

Serum concentrations of FS, C-reactive protein (CRP) and blood leucocyte counts were determined repeatedly in all nine patients; samples from age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers served as controls.

RESULTS

The median of the maximum FS concentrations of septicaemic patients was threefold higher than in healthy controls (P = 0.008). The highest increase observed was approximately 40 times normal. Serum FS levels in patients with septicaemia showed large variations between individuals. Serum FS levels parallelled those of CRP but were not correlated to the leucocyte counts.

CONCLUSION

serum follistatin concentrations in humans are elevated during septicaemia and appear to parallel serum C-reactive protein levels.

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