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Open Access Research article

Interleukin 6, lipopolysaccharide-binding protein and interleukin 10 in the prediction of risk and etiologic patterns in patients with community-acquired pneumonia: results from the German competence network CAPNETZ

Katrin Zobel1, Peter Martus2, Mathias W Pletz3, Santiago Ewig4, Michael Prediger1, Tobias Welte5, Frank Bühling56* and CAPNETZ study group

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pneumology, Carl-Thiem-Klinikum Cottbus, Thiemstrasse 111, 03048 Cottbus, Germany

2 Department of Biometry and Clinical Epidemiologie, Charité, Chariteplatz 1, 10098 Berlin, Germany

3 Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectious Diseases, Jena University Hospital, Hospital Erlanger Allee 101, 07740 Jena, Germany

4 Thoraxzentrum Ruhrgebiet, Respiratory and Infectious Diseases, Ev. Krankenhaus Herne und Augusta-Kranken-Anstalt, Bochum, Thoraxzentrum Ruhrgebiet, Hordeler Strasse 7-9, 44651 Herne, Germany

5 Department of Pneumology, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Strasse 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany

6 Department of Laboratory Medicine, Carl-Thiem-Klinikum Cottbus, Thiemstrasse 111, 03048 Cottbus, Germany

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BMC Pulmonary Medicine 2012, 12:6  doi:10.1186/1471-2466-12-6

Published: 20 February 2012



The aim of our study was to investigate the predictive value of the biomarkers interleukin 6 (IL-6), interleukin 10 (IL-10) and lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP) compared with clinical CRB and CRB-65 severity scores in patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).


Samples and data were obtained from patients enrolled into the German CAPNETZ study group. Samples (blood, sputum and urine) were collected within 24 h of first presentation and inclusion in the CAPNETZ study, and CRB and CRB-65 scores were determined for all patients at the time of enrollment. The combined end point representative of a severe course of CAP was defined as mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit treatment and/or death within 30 days. Overall, a total of 1,000 patients were enrolled in the study. A severe course of CAP was observed in 105 (10.5%) patients.


The highest IL-6, IL-10 and LBP concentrations were found in patients with CRB-65 scores of 3-4 or CRB scores of 2-3. IL-6 and LBP levels on enrollment in the study were significantly higher for patients with a severe course of CAP than for those who did not have severe CAP. In receiver operating characteristic analyses, the area under the curve values for of IL-6 (0.689), IL-10 (0.665) and LPB (0.624) in a severe course of CAP were lower than that of CRB-65 (0.764) and similar to that of CRB (0.69). The accuracy of both CRB and CRB-65 was increased significantly by including IL-6 measurements. In addition, higher cytokine concentrations were found in patients with typical bacterial infections compared with patients with atypical or viral infections and those with infection of unknown etiology. LBP showed the highest discriminatory power with respect to the etiology of infection.


IL-6, IL-10 and LBP concentrations were increased in patients with a CRB-65 score of 3-4 and a severe course of CAP. The concentrations of IL-6 and IL-10 reflected the severity of disease in patients with CAP. The predictive power of IL-6, IL-10 and LBP for a severe course of pneumonia was lower than that of CRB-65. Typical bacterial pathogens induced the highest LBP, IL-6 and IL-10 concentrations.

Interleukin-6; Interleukin-10; LBP; CAP; Pneumonia; Biomarker; Cytokine