Mutations of Genes Involved in the Innate Immune System as Predictors of Sepsis in Very Low Birth Weight Infants

Peter Ahrens*, Evelyn Kattner, Birgit Köhler, Christoph Härtel, Jürgen Seidenberg, Hugo Segerer, Jens Moller, Wolfgang Göpel

*Corresponding author for this work
104 Citations (Scopus)


Mutations of genes involved in the innate immune system have been reported to be associated with an increased sepsis rate in adults. We determined the - 159T mutation of the CD14 gene, the 896G mutation of the toll-like receptor 4 gene, the 3020insC mutation of the NOD2 gene (NOD2-3020insC), the IL-6 174G/C promoter polymorphism (IL6-174G/C), and the mannose-binding lectin genotype and their association to the subsequent development of neonatal sepsis in a large cohort of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. Fifty (14%) of 356 VLBW infants developed blood culture-proven sepsis during their stay in the hospital. VLBW infants carrying the NOD2-3020insC allele (n =15) and the IL6-174G allele (n =121) had a significantly higher rate of blood culture-proven sepsis (33% and 19.8%, respectively) than VLBW infants without these genotypes (p = 0.046 and 0.035, respectively). In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, gestational age less than 28 wk (odds ratio, 3.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.7-6.0; p < 0.001) and the homozygous IL6-174G allele (odds ratio, 1.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-3.9; p = 0.039) were predictive for the development of sepsis, whereas the NOD2-3020insC allele was only of borderline significance (odds ratio, 3.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-10.4; p = 0.052). VLBW infants with repeated episodes of sepsis had higher frequencies of the NOD2-3020insC and IL6-174G allele. The increased sepsis rate of homozygous IL6-174G carriers was especially related to an increase in Gram-positive infections, and was not observed in VLBW infants who received prophylaxis with teicoplanin (frequency of Gram-positive sepsis in homozygous IL6-174G carriers without prophylaxis 16.5% versus 2.4% in homozygous IL6-174G carriers with prophylaxis; p = 0.033).

Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)652-656
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 04.2004

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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