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Open Access Research article

High-mobility group box-1 protein, lipopolysaccharide-binding protein, interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein in children with community acquired infections and bacteraemia: a prospective study

Jana Pavare1*, Ilze Grope1, Imants Kalnins2 and Dace Gardovska1

Author Affiliations

1 Riga Stradins University, Chair of Pediatrics, Riga, Latvia

2 Riga Stradins University, Chair of Physics, Riga, Latvia

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:28  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-28

Published: 16 February 2010



Even though sepsis is one of the common causes of children morbidity and mortality, specific inflammatory markers for identifying sepsis are less studied in children. The main aim of this study was to compare the levels of high-mobility group box-1 protein (HMGB1), Lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP), Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP) between infected children without systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and children with severe and less severe sepsis. The second aim was to examine HMGB1, LBP, IL6 and CRP as markers for of bacteraemia.


Totally, 140 children with suspected or proven infections admitted to the Children's Clinical University Hospital of Latvia during 2008 and 2009 were included. Clinical and demographical information as well as infection focus were assessed in all patients. HMGB1, LBP, IL-6 and CRP blood samples were determined. Children with suspected or diagnosed infections were categorized into three groups of severity of infection: (i) infected without SIRS (n = 36), (ii) sepsis (n = 91) and, (iii) severe sepsis (n = 13). They were furthermore classified according bacteraemia into (i) bacteremia (n = 30) and (ii) no bacteraemia (n = 74).


There was no statistically significant difference in HMGB1 levels between children with different levels of sepsis or with and without bacteraemia. The levels of LBP, IL-6 and CRP were statistically significantly higher among patients with sepsis compared to those infected but without SIRS (p < 0.001). Furthermore, LBP, IL-6 and CRP were significantly higher in children with severe sepsis compared to those ones with less severe sepsis (p < 0.001). Median values of LBP, IL6 and CRP were significantly higher in children with bacteraemia compared to those without bacteraemia. The area under the receiver operating curve (ROC) for detecting bacteraemia was 0.87 for both IL6 and CRP and 0.82 for LBP, respectively.


Elevated levels of LBP, IL-6 and CRP were associated with a more severe level of infection in children. Whereas LBP, IL-6 and CRP seem to be good markers to detect patients with bacteraemia, HMGB1 seem to be of minor importance. LBP, IL-6 and CRP levels may serve as good biomarkers for identifying children with severe sepsis and bacteraemia and, thus, may be routinely used in clinical practice.