Purpose: Vascular inflammation and leakage in sepsis is mediated by Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) and Angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) and their phosphorylation of the endothelial Tie-2 receptor. This study investigates levels of Ang-1 and Ang-2 in newborns to gain insight in the vascular pathophysiology of early onset sepsis (EOS) within 72 h after birth.
Methods: A prospective cohort study was performed among 71 Surinamese newborns treated with antibiotics for suspected EOS and 20 control newborns. Newborns with suspected EOS were divided in two groups: blood culture negative and positive EOS. Ang-1 and Ang-2 levels were measured in serum obtained at the start of antibiotic treatment and at re-evaluation after 48 to 72 h.
Results: In this cohort 8.5% of newborns had a positive blood culture. At the start of antibiotic treatment Ang-1 serum levels were lower (P < 0.01), and Ang-2 and Ang-2/Ang-1 serum protein ratios were higher (P < 0.01 and P < 0.01, respectively) in newborns with blood culture positive EOS than in controls. These levels were not dependent on timing of first blood draw after birth. After 48 to 72 h levels of Ang-1 further decreased in blood culture positive EOS, while in the other groups no change was observed.
Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that a disbalance in the Angiopoietins plays a role in the vascular pathophysiology of EOS.