Elevated serum S-100B protein as a predictor of failure to short-term return to work or activities after mild head injury

J Neurotrauma. 2004 Aug;21(8):1070-5. doi: 10.1089/0897715041651088.


Protein S-100B is an established serum marker of primary and secondary brain damage and stroke. A group of patients after mild head injury (MHI) develop post-concussion symptoms that interfere with the ability in the short-term to return to work or undertake certain activities. The aim of this study was to examine the correlation of serum S-100B with short-term outcome after MHI. We studied 100 subjects who were referred to the Emergency Department (ED) after a MHI. All subjects had a GCS of 15 either with or without loss of consciousness (LOC) and/or post-traumatic amnesia (PTA). Serum S-100B was collected within 3 h from the injury and a value of > or = 0.15 microg/L was considered as abnormal. Subjects with other injuries, including scalp or cervical spine, were excluded, as well as those with alcohol/narcotic drug consumption or history of serious physical/mental illness. An independent observer measured the return to work/activities within one week. Thirty-two (32%) subjects had elevated S-100B. The failure to return to work/activities was significantly correlated with elevated S-100B: subjects with increased S-100B had a failure rate of 37.5% versus 4.9% of those with normal values (p = 0.0001). In MHI, the elevated S-100B seemed to correlate with an unfavorable short-term outcome. This might be useful in (1) selecting patients who need closer observation, hospitalization, and further investigations (such as CT scan or MRI), and (2) the prognosis of genuine post-concussion symptoms, that interfere with return to work or activities, versus other causes such as premorbid personality, labyrinthine dysfunction, whiplash syndrome, postinjury stress, occupational injury, litigation, and malingering.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Injuries / blood*
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Brain Injuries / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malingering / diagnosis
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit
  • S100 Proteins / blood*
  • Sick Leave
  • Up-Regulation / physiology


  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit
  • S100 Proteins