Sepsis remains a common cause of death in the intensive care units worldwide. However, in the last decade a significant development could be noticed in sepsis research regarding diagnostic markers that can help the physicians to recognize the disease in the early phase, which is the clue of the successful treatment of sepsis. This development provided the identification of new molecules and structures (i.e. cytokins, cell surface markers, receptors) that are potential biomarkers of sepsis in the clinical settings. Besides, the advance in the understanding of the pathophysiologic, immunologic and biochemical pathway of sepsis has made the way for assignment of new drug targets in the therapy of sepsis. This review aims to provide a summary about these novelties regarding our knowledge about sepsis published in the medical literature recently. We will describe the presumed pathophysiological role and diagnostic value of sepsis markers that are used even more widely in the clinical practice (i.e. procalcitonin, IL-6), summarize the data regarding the sepsis marker candidates that are investigated in some initial study (i.e. matrix metalloproteinases, microRNA fingerprints), and we will discuss substances that may be specific markers for certain organ failures related to sepsis (i.e. neutrophil gelatinase-derived lipocalin in acute renal failure). Furthermore, we will review the mediators of the immuno-inflammatory cascade in sepsis concerning their potential applicability as therapeutic targets in the treatment of this often lethal disease. In addition, we present some insights into the identification of genetic markers of sepsis.
Keywords: Sepsis, septic shock, marker, diagnosis, prognosis, organ failure, therapy, therapeutic target, procalcitonin, interleukin-6, matrix metalloproteinase, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, brain type natriuretic peptide, soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells
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