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Open Access Research

Erythropoietin and renin as biological markers in critically ill patients

Fabienne Tamion1*, Véronique Le Cam-Duchez2, Jean-François Menard3, Christophe Girault1, Antoine Coquerel4 and Guy Bonmarchand5

Author Affiliations

1 Intensive Care Consultant, Medical Intensive Care Unit, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France

2 Hematologist, Radioanalysis Laboratory and Hematology Laboratory, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France

3 Department of Biostatistics, Caen University Hospital, Caen, France

4 Head of Pharmacology, Radioanalysis Laboratory, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, and Department of Pharmacology, Caen University Hospital, Caen, France

5 Head of Medical Intensive Care, Medical Intensive Care Unit, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France

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Critical Care 2004, 8:R328-R335  doi:10.1186/cc2902

Published: 9 August 2004

Abstract

Introduction

During sepsis the endocrine, immune and nervous systems elaborate a multitude of biological responses. Little is known regarding the mechanisms responsible for the final circulating erythropoietin (EPO) and renin levels in septic shock. The aim of the present study was to assess the role of EPO and renin as biological markers in patients with septic shock.

Methods

A total of 44 critically ill patients with septic shock were evaluated.

Results

Nonsurvivors had significantly higher serum EPO levels than did survivors on admission (median [minimum–maximum]; 61 [10–602] versus 20 [5–369]). A negative relationship between serum EPO and blood haemoglobin concentrations was observed in the survivor group (r = -0.61; P < 0.001). In contrast, in the nonsurvivors the serum EPO concentration was independent of the blood haemoglobin concentration. Furthermore, we observed significant relationships between EPO concentration and lactate (r = 0.5; P < 0.001), arterial oxygen tension/fractional inspired oxygen ratio (r = -0.41; P < 0.005), arterial pH (r = -0.58; P < 0.001) and renin concentration (r = 0.42; P < 0.005). With regard to renin concentration, significant correlations with lactate (r = 0.52; P < 0.001) and arterial pH (r = -0.33; P < 0.05) were observed.

Conclusion

Our findings show that EPO and renin concentrations increased in patients admitted to the intensive care unit with septic shock. Renin may be a significant mediator of EPO upregulation in patients with septic shock. Further studies regarding the regulation of EPO expression are clearly warranted.

Keywords:
biological markers; critically ill patients; erythropoietin; renin; septic shock