Immediate S-100B and neuron-specific enolase plasma measurements for rapid evaluation of primary brain damage in alcohol-intoxicated, minor head-injured patients

Shock. 2002 Nov;18(5):395-400. doi: 10.1097/00024382-200211000-00002.


The neuroproteins S-100B and neuron-specific enolase (NSE) released into the circulation are suggested to be reliable markers for primary brain damage. However, safe identification of relevant post-traumatic complications after minor head injury (MHI) is often hampered by acute intoxication of the patients. The objective of this study was to determine the diagnostic validity of immediate plasma measurements of S-100B and NSE in comparison with neurological examinations and cerebral computed tomography (CCT) findings in alcohol-intoxicated MHI patients. One hundered thrity-nine MHI individuals were enrolled in this prospective study during Munich's Oktoberfest 2000. Plasma levels of S-100B and NSE as well as serum alcohol and glucose values were determined by fully automated assays immediately after admission. The results were compared with Glasgow Coma Scale score, a brief neurological examination, and the CCT findings. Without being influenced by alcohol, median S-100B levels of the CCT+ group were significantly increased compared with those of the CCT- group (P < 0.001). NSE, alcohol, and glucose levels showed no significant group differences. As calculated by the ROC analysis, a cutoff value of 0.21 ng/mL with an area under the curve of 0.864 clearly differentiates between CCT+ and CCT- patients at a sensitivity of 100%, a specificity of 50.0%, and a positive likelihood ratio of 2.0. Although acute alcohol intoxication did not confound plasma measurements of S-100B and NSE, only S-100B levels below the cutoff level of 0.21 ng/mL seem to indicate absence of primary brain damage. Thus, in addition to routine neurological examinations, S-100B measurements immediately after admission might help to reduce CCT scans in alcohol-intoxicated patients early after MHI.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / blood*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / complications
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brain Injuries / blood*
  • Brain Injuries / complications
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / blood*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / blood*
  • ROC Curve
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit
  • S100 Proteins / blood*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Biomarkers
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit
  • S100 Proteins
  • Ethanol
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase