The role of thiol-disulfide homeostasis in neonatal sepsis

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2021 May;34(10):1522-1528. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2019.1638904. Epub 2019 Jul 8.


Background and aim: The thiol-disulfide homeostasis is essential for the body to maintain effective antioxidant defense mechanisms. We aimed to show the relationship between sepsis and thiol-disulfide homeostasis in newborns.

Materials and methods: In this prospective study, 66 newborns with sepsis (group 1) and 51 healthy controls (group 2) were included. In group 1, 53 newborns were diagnosed as clinical sepsis (group 1a) and 13 as definite sepsis (group 1b). The study has two time points; the day of diagnosis (step 1) and three days after the treatment (step 2). At step 1, group 1 and group 2 were compared for thiol-disulfide homeostasis as well as inflammatory markers. At step 2, the same laboratory tests were repeated only in group 1.

Results: At step 1, the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) were higher, while native thiol and total thiol levels were lower in group 1 compared to controls. Serum disulfide/total thiol ratio was also significantly higher in group 1. When analyzed for subgroups of group 1, demonstration of microorganism did not affect the serum thiol levels. Within group 1, at step 2, although CRP and IL-6 levels were significantly lowered compared to step 1, we did not observe significant changes in thiol-disulfide parameters.

Conclusions: The thiol-disulfide homeostasis may have a role in the pathogenesis of sepsis in newborns. The related parameters might be new markers for the diagnosis of sepsis in newborn patients. Further studies are needed to define the role of thiol-disulfide homeostasis in the course of neonatal sepsis.

Keywords: Newborn; sepsis; thiol–disulfide homeostasis.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Disulfides*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Sepsis* / diagnosis
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds


  • Biomarkers
  • Disulfides
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds