European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 154, Issue 4, pp 309–313 | Cite as

Cerebrospinal fluid 309-1309-1309-1in neonates with central nervous system infections

  • Alfredo García-Alix
  • Ana Martín-Ancel
  • María Teresa Ramos
  • Sofía Salas
  • Adelina Pellicer
  • Fernando Cabañas
  • José Quero
Neonatology Original Paper


Beta2-microglobulin (β2m) determination in CSF of 72 neonates who underwent a spinal tap as part of a sepsis or meningo-encephalitis workup was performed to evaluate the usefulness of this test in the diagnosis of CNS infections. β2m was measured by enzyme immunoassay. Sixty neonates had sterile culture and normal neurological status at discharge. Twelve infants had CNS infections: 8 bacterial meningitis, 3 TORCH infections (T=toxoplasmosis, O=others, R=rubella, C=cytomegalovirus and H=herpes simplex) and 1 viral meningitis. Neonates with CNS infection exhibited significantly higher CSF β2m levels compared to neonates with sterile culture (6.24±2.66 vs 1.74±0.5 mg/l;P<0.0001). CSF β2m levels did not correlate with the white cell count, total protein concentration or glucose level in CSF. When serum and CSF levels were measured simultaneously, the CSF β2m level was significantly higher than the corresponding serum level in patients with CNS infection (6.98±2.5 vs 3.2±0.25 mg/l;P<0.01). Sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values were estimated for different cut-off points. The best operational diagnostic cut-off value was 2.25 mg/l. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed an appropriate trade-off between specificity and sensitivity and indicated that CSF β2m was accurate in distinguishing between neonates with and without CNS infection.


CSF β2m may be a useful ancillary tool in neonates when CNS infection is suspected.

Key words

Beta2-microglobulin Neonatal meningitis TORCH infections Central nervous system infections 





receiver operating characteristic


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfredo García-Alix
    • 1
  • Ana Martín-Ancel
    • 1
  • María Teresa Ramos
    • 2
  • Sofía Salas
    • 1
  • Adelina Pellicer
    • 1
  • Fernando Cabañas
    • 1
  • José Quero
    • 1
  1. 1.Neonatology DivisionLa Paz Children's HospitalMadridSpain
  2. 2.Biochemistry Department, La Paz Children's HospitalUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain

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