Genetics and genomics in pediatric septic shock

Critical Care Medicine, 05/10/2012

Wong HR – Pediatric sepsis and septic shock are increasingly being studied by genetic and genomic approaches and the accumulating data hold the promise of enhancing the future approach to this ongoing clinical problem.

  • Several polymorphisms of genes broadly involved in inflammation, immunity, and coagulation have been linked with susceptibility to sepsis, or outcome of sepsis in children.
  • Many of these studies involve meningococcemia, and the strongest association involves a functional polymorphism of the plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 promoter region and meningococcal sepsis.
  • Expression profiling studies in pediatric septic shock have identified zinc supplementation and inhibition of matrix metalloproteinase-8 activity as potential, novel therapeutic approaches in sepsis.
  • Studies focused on discovery of sepsis-related biomarkers have identified interleukin-8 as a robust outcome biomarker in pediatric septic shock.
  • Additional studies have demonstrated the feasibility and clinical relevance of gene expression-based subclassification of pediatric septic shock.

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