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Open Access Research

The predictive role of serum and bronchoalveolar lavage cytokines and adhesion molecules for acute respiratory distress syndrome development and outcome

Panagiotis Agouridakis1, Despina Kyriakou2, Michael G Alexandrakis2, Athanasios Prekates4, Kostas Perisinakis5, Nikolaos Karkavitsas6 and Demosthenes Bouros3*

Author Affiliations

1 Intensive Care Unit, General Hospital of Rethymnon, Crete, Greece

2 Department of Hematology, University Hospital of Heraklion, Crete, Greece

3 Department of Pneumonology, University Hospital of Heraklion, Crete, Greece

4 Intensive Care Unit, Tzanion General Hospital of Pireus, Crete, Greece

5 Department of Medical Physics, University Hospital of Heraklion, Crete, Greece

6 Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital of Heraklion, Crete, Greece

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Respiratory Research 2002, 3:25  doi:10.1186/rr193

Published: 23 October 2002



The predictive role of many cytokines and adhesion molecules has not been studied systematically in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).


We measured prospectively tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-1, soluble vascular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) in serum and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) within 2 hours following admission, in 65 patients. The patients were divided into: those fulfilling the criteria for ARDS (n = 23, group A), those who were pre-ARDS and who developed ARDS within 24 hours (n = 14, group B), and those on pre-ARDS but who never developed ARDS (n = 28, group C).


All the measured molecules were only found at higher levels in the serum of patients that died either with or without ARDS (P < 0.05 – P < 0.0001). Patients at risk exhibited a good negative predictive value (NPV) of the measured molecules for ARDS development both in their serum (89 to 95%) and BALF (86 to 92%) levels. In contrast to BALF, serum levels of IL-1 and adhesion molecules exhibited a good NPV (68 to 96%), sensitivity (60 to 88%) and survival specificity (74 to 96%) in all groups. All molecules in serum and BALF IL-1 were correlated with the APACHE II (P < 0.05 – P < 0.0001). Serum and BALF IL-1 as well as BALF TNF-α were negatively correlated to PaO2/FiO2 (all P < 0.05).


The studied molecules have good NPV for ARDS development both in serum and BALF. Serum rather than BALF levels seem to be related to outcome.

ARDS; adhesion molecules; BAL; cytokines; survival