Olfactomedin-4 Is a Candidate Marker for a Pathogenic Neutrophil Subset in Septic Shock

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Heterogeneity in sepsis-related pathobiology presents a significant challenge. Resolving this heterogeneity presents an opportunity to understand pathobiology and improve patient care. Olfactomedin-4 is a neutrophil subset marker and may contribute to sepsis heterogeneity. Our objective was to evaluate the expression of olfactomedin-4 and characterize neutrophil heterogeneity in children with septic shock.


Single-center, prospective cohort, as well as secondary analysis of existing transcriptomic and proteomic databases.


Tertiary care PICU.


Patients from 5 days to 18 years old with septic shock were enrolled. Data collected included the expression of olfactomedin-4 messenger RNA, serum protein concentrations, and percentage of neutrophils that express olfactomedin-4.



Measurements and Main Results:

Secondary analysis of existing transcriptomic data demonstrated that olfactomedin-4 is the most highly expressed gene in nonsurvivors of pediatric septic shock, compared with survivors. Secondary analysis of an existing proteomic database corroborated these observations. In a prospectively enrolled cohort, we quantified the percentage of olfactomedin-4+ neutrophils in patients with septic shock. Patients with a complicated course, defined as greater than or equal to two organ failures at day 7 of septic shock or 28-day mortality, had a higher percentage of olfactomedin-4+ neutrophils, compared with those without a complicated course. By logistic regression, the percentage of olfactomedin-4+ neutrophils was independently associated with increased risk of a complicated course (odds ratio, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.01–1.17; p = 0.024).


Olfactomedin-4 identifies a subpopulation of neutrophils in patients with septic shock, and those with a high percentage of olfactomedin-4+ neutrophils are at higher risk for greater organ failure burden and death. Olfactomedin-4 might serve as a marker of a pathogenic neutrophil subset in patients with septic shock.

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