Objectives: The matrix protein hyaluronic acid (HA, hyaluronan) has possibly additional immune-regulatory functions in inflammation. We aimed at evaluating serum HA concentrations in critically ill patients.
Design and methods: We analyzed serum HA levels in 164 critically ill patients at a medical ICU and 61 healthy controls, with respect to organ dysfunction, systemic inflammation and mortality.
Results: Hyaluronan serum concentrations upon admission to ICU were significantly elevated in critically ill patients compared to healthy controls, with the highest levels in patients with pre-existing liver cirrhosis or sepsis. HA levels were closely correlated with biomarkers of hepatic and renal function, systemic inflammation, demand of treatment measures and clinical scores of disease severity, but could not predict risk of mortality.
Conclusions: Measurement of serum HA may supplement the assessment of disease severity in ICU patients. Our data suggest that HA might have implications in the pathogenesis of critical illness and sepsis.
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Inc.