Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Teikyo University School of Medicine. Tokyo 173-8605, Japan
Objective: In the acute stage of infectious diseases such as pneumonia and sepsis, sequelae hypercytokinemia and cytokine storm are often observed simultaneously. During bacterial infections, activated polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) cause inflammation and organ dysfunction in severely ill patients. Gene expression of the triggering receptor on myeloid cells (TREM)-1 and G-coupled-protein receptor kinase (GRK)-2 in PMNs isolated from patients was analysed to identify genes correlated with the severity of pathophysiological conditions.
Methods: mRNA levels of TREM1 and GRK2 in the PMNs from 26 patients (13 with pneumonia, 5 with severe sepsis, and 8 with septic shock) were analysed by using quantitative real-time PCR. The synthesised soluble form (s)TREM-1 was incubated with normal PMNs to investigate its biological functions in vitro.
Results: Copies of TREM1 transcript were 0.7- to 2.1-fold higher in patients with pneumonia compared to those of normal subjects; the average fold-change was 1.1-fold. The mRNA levels of patients suffering from severe sepsis and septic shock were 0.34- and 0.33-fold lower compared to those of healthy subjects, respectively. TREM1 mRNA levels in 5 of 26 patients in convalescent stages recovered to normal levels. The mRNA levels of GRK2 in the PMNs of patients were also downregulated. The synthesised sTREM-1 upregulated the mRNA levels of TREM1 in normal PMNs.
Conclusions: TREM1 mRNA levels were inversely correlated with the severity of pathophysiological conditions in acute bacterial infections. The gene expression levels of TREM1 in PMNs isolated from patients with bacterial infections may be used as a surrogate biomarker for determining the severity.
Keywords: Pneumonia, Sepsis, Polymorphonuclear leukocytes, real-time PCR, TREM1, GRK2