Endothelial damage in septic shock patients as evidenced by circulating syndecan-1, sphingosine-1-phosphate and soluble VE-cadherin: a substudy of ALBIOS

Crit Care. 2021 Mar 19;25(1):113. doi: 10.1186/s13054-021-03545-1.


Background: Septic shock is characterized by breakdown of the endothelial glycocalyx and endothelial damage, contributing to fluid extravasation, organ failure and death. Albumin has shown benefit in septic shock patients. Our aims were: (1) to identify the relations between circulating levels of syndecan-1 (SYN-1), sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) (endothelial glycocalyx), and VE-cadherin (endothelial cell junctions), severity of the disease, and survival; (2) to evaluate the effects of albumin supplementation on endothelial dysfunction in patients with septic shock.

Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of a multicenter randomized clinical trial on albumin replacement in severe sepsis or septic shock (the Albumin Italian Outcome Sepsis Trial, ALBIOS). Concentrations of SYN-1, S1P, soluble VE-cadherin and other biomarkers were measured on days 1, 2 and 7 in 375 patients with septic shock surviving up to 7 days after randomization.

Results: Plasma concentrations of SYN-1 and VE-cadherin rose significantly over 7 days. SYN-1 and VE-cadherin were elevated in patients with organ failure, and S1P levels were lower. SYN-1 and VE-cadherin were independently associated with renal replacement therapy requirement during ICU stay, but only SYN-1 predicted its new occurrence. Both SYN-1 and S1P, but not VE-cadherin, predicted incident coagulation failure. Only SYN-1 independently predicted 90-day mortality. Albumin significantly reduced VE-cadherin, by 9.5% (p = 0.003) at all three time points.

Conclusion: Circulating components of the endothelial glycocalyx and of the endothelial cell junctions provide insights into severity and progression of septic shock, with special focus on incident coagulation and renal failure. Albumin supplementation lowered circulating VE-cadherin consistently over time.

Clinical trial registration: ALBIOS ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT00707122.

Keywords: Biomarker; Glycocalyx; Septic shock; Sphingosine-1-phosphate; Syndecan-1; VE-cadherin.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, CD / analysis*
  • Antigens, CD / blood
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cadherins / analysis*
  • Cadherins / blood
  • Endothelium / blood supply
  • Endothelium / injuries*
  • Endothelium / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Lysophospholipids / analysis*
  • Lysophospholipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shock, Septic / blood*
  • Shock, Septic / complications
  • Sphingosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Sphingosine / analysis
  • Sphingosine / blood
  • Syndecan-1 / analysis*
  • Syndecan-1 / blood


  • Antigens, CD
  • Biomarkers
  • Cadherins
  • Lysophospholipids
  • SDC1 protein, human
  • Syndecan-1
  • cadherin 5
  • sphingosine 1-phosphate
  • Sphingosine

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00707122