Biophysical Changes of Leukocyte Activation (and NETosis) in the Cellular Host Response to Sepsis

Diagnostics (Basel). 2023 Apr 16;13(8):1435. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics13081435.


Sepsis, the leading cause of mortality in hospitals, currently lacks effective early diagnostics. A new cellular host response test, the IntelliSep test, may provide an indicator of the immune dysregulation characterizing sepsis. The objective of this study was to examine the correlation between the measurements performed using this test and biological markers and processes associated with sepsis. Phorbol myristate acetate (PMA), an agonist of neutrophils known to induce neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation, was added to whole blood of healthy volunteers at concentrations of 0, 200, and 400 nM and then evaluated using the IntelliSep test. Separately, plasma from a cohort of subjects was segregated into Control and Diseased populations and tested for levels of NET components (citrullinated histone (cit-H3) DNA and neutrophil elastase (NE) DNA) using customized ELISA assays and correlated with ISI scores from the same patient samples. Significant increases in IntelliSep Index (ISI) scores were observed with increasing concentrations of PMA in healthy blood (0 and 200: p < 10-10; 0 and 400: p < 10-10). Linear correlation was observed between the ISI and quantities of NE DNA and Cit-H3 DNA in patient samples. Together these experiments demonstrate that the IntelliSep test is associated with the biological processes of leukocyte activation and NETosis and may indicate changes consistent with sepsis.

Keywords: monocyte; neutrophil; neutrophil extracellular traps; novel biomarkers; sepsis; sepsis diagnostics.