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Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) is an initiating cytokine of the inflammatory cascade. Extracellular MCP-1 exhibits pro-inflammatory characteristic and plays a central pathogenic role in critical illness. The purpose of the study was to identify the association between plasma MCP-1 levels and the development of sepsis after severe trauma.The plasma levels of MCP-1 in severe trauma patients were measured by a quantitative enzyme-linked immune sorbent assay and the dynamic release patterns were recorded at three time points during seven days post-trauma. The related factors of prognosis were compared between sepsis and non-sepsis groups and analyzed using multivariate logistic regression analysis. We also used receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves to assess the values of different variables in predicting sepsis.A total of 72 patients who met criteria indicative of severe trauma (72.22% of male; mean age, 49.40 ± 14.29 years) were enrolled. Plasma MCP-1 concentrations significantly increased on post-trauma day 1 and that this increase was significantly correlated with the Injury Severity Score (ISS) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that early MCP-1, ISS, and IL-6 were independent risk factors for sepsis in severe trauma patients. Incorporation of the early MCP-1 into the ISS can increase the discriminative performance for predicting development of sepsis.Early plasma MCP-1 concentrations can be used to assess the severity of trauma and is correlated with the development of sepsis after severe trauma. The addition of the early MCP-1 levels to the ISS significantly improves its ability to predict development of sepsis.