In Trauma Patients, the Occurrence of Early-Onset Nosocomial Infections is Associated With Increased Plasma Concentrations of Chromogranin A

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In previously healthy persons suffering from acute illnesses, nosocomial infections (NIs) are frequent. Their prevalence suggests the existence of as yet unknown conditions that may promote care-related infection. This study assessed whether the measurement of plasma chromogranin A, a stress-related protein involved in innate defense, is related to NI risk, and whether any chromogranin A-derived fragment included in vasostatin-I displays immunosuppressive activities related to AP-1 or NF-kappa B downregulation. At the clinical level, trauma patients and healthy controls were recruited to be eligible. Clinical histories were recorded, and standard biological tests (including plasma chromogranin A) were performed. For 9 randomly chosen patients and 16 controls, the time-dependent concentrations of chromogranin A (CGA) were assessed twice a day over 66 h. The data show that trauma patients present a higher value of CGA concentration during 66 h in comparison with healthy controls. In addition, patients maintaining this significant increase in CGA readily develop NIs. We therefore studied the effects of chromogranin A-derived peptides on monocytes, focusing on transcription factors that play a central role in inflammation. In vitro assay demonstrated that a chromogranin A-derived fragment (CGA47–70) displays a significant inhibition of NF-kappa B and AP-1 transcriptional activities in these cells. In conclusion, the occurrence of NI in trauma patients is associated with significantly increased plasma CGA concentrations. Downregulation of the two transcription factors by CGA47–70 might induce early acquired immune defect after a serious medical stress.

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