Inflammation Research

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 203–207 | Cite as

Exogenous procalcitonin evokes a pro-inflammatory cytokine response

  • Angelike P. LiappisEmail author
  • Kevin W. Gibbs
  • Eric S. Nylen
  • Bona Yoon
  • Richard H. Snider
  • Baochong Gao
  • Kenneth L. Becker
Original Research Paper


Objective and design

Procalcitonin (ProCT) is increased in serum of septic patients and those with systemic inflammation. Endogenous levels of ProCT might influence the response of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs), independently of endotoxin, in clinical disease.


Healthy human volunteers.


Recombinant human ProCT (rhProCT).


Whole blood and PMNs were exposed in vitro to exogenous rhProCT. Interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-13, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα), IL-1β, and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1β (pg/ml) were measured by multiplex suspension bead-array immunoassay, and migration and phagocytosis were measured in PMNs.


In a whole-blood model, a dose-dependent increase in IL-6, TNFα, and IL-1β of the cell-free supernatant was noted. Pre-incubation with ProCT, at doses consistent with clinical sepsis, resulted in a decrease in PMN migration without alteration in phagocytosis of Staphylococcus aureus or indirect measurements of bacterial killing.


Clinically relevant levels of ProCT influence immunologic responses that may contribute to systemic inflammatory response and septic shock.


Sepsis Inflammation Procalcitonin Leukocyte Neutrophil 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG (outside the USA) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angelike P. Liappis
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kevin W. Gibbs
    • 2
  • Eric S. Nylen
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bona Yoon
    • 2
  • Richard H. Snider
    • 3
  • Baochong Gao
    • 2
    • 4
  • Kenneth L. Becker
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Medical Service and Section of Infectious DiseasesVeterans Affairs Medical CenterWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineThe George Washington University Medical CenterWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Section of EndocrinologyVeterans Affairs Medical CenterWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Research ServiceVeterans Affairs Medical CenterWashingtonUSA

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