Early determination of the severity of Community-Acquired Pneumonia (CAP) is essential for better disease prognosis. Current predictors are suboptimal, and their clinical utility remains to be defined, highlighting the need for developing biomarkers with efficacious prognostic value. Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive sphingolipid with a documented regulatory role in immune defense and maintenance of endothelial barrier integrity. For early diagnose of CAP and recognition of severe CAP patients, we conduct this pilot study to access the potential utility of the circulating S1P in an Emergency department setting. In the prospective study, plasma S1P levels were quantified in healthy controls and patients with CAP. Also, their discriminating power was assessed by receiver operating characteristic analysis. The association between S1P levels and disease severity indices was assessed by Spearman correlation and logistic regression tests. Patients with CAP had significantly higher plasma S1P levels than healthy individuals (CAP: 27.54 ng/ml, IQR = 14.37–49.99 ng/ml; Controls: 10.58 ng/ml, IQR = 4.781–18.91 ng/ml; p < 0.0001). S1P levels were inversely correlated with disease severity in patients with CAP. Based on multivariate logistic regression analysis, the plasma S1P concentrations showed significant predicting power for mortality (OR: 0.909; CI: 0.801–0.985; p < 0.05), intensive care unit admission (OR: 0.89; CI: 0.812–0.953; p < 0.005) and long hospital stay (OR: 0.978; CI: 0.961–0.992; p < 0.005). Interestingly, significantly elevated levels of S1P were noted in patients who received methylprednisolone treatment during hospitalization. These results suggest that S1P may be associated with the pathogenesis of CAP and may have prognostic utility in CAP and its therapy, especially in the Emergency Department setting.
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