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S-100, a protein of astroglial cells, is described as a marker for central nervous system damage. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the marker could give information about the severity and possibility of functional recovery after minor and severe head injury.Thirty patients after severe head injury (Glasgow Coma Scale score <9) and 11 patients after minor head injury (Glasgow Coma Scale score > 12) were included. In each case, blood samples were drawn within 6 hours after injury. Outcome was estimated at hospital discharge using the Glasgow Outcome Scale.All patients who sustained minor head injury had reached a favorable outcome by the time they were discharged from the hospital. Their mean S-100 serum level was 0.35 [micro sign]g/L. Patients who sustained severe head injury and were classified as having an unfavorable outcome (31%) showed a mean serum concentration of 4.9 [micro sign]g/L, whereas patients classified as having a favorable outcome (69%) had a mean S-100 level of 1.2 [micro sign]g/L. All groups differed significantly (p < 0.05)S-100 appears to be a promising marker for the severity of head injury and neuronal damage.