Background: Although preclinical studies highlighted the potential role of NADPH oxidase (NOX) in sepsis, only few studies evaluated the oxidative stress in patients with sepsis and septic shock. The objective of the study is to appraise the oxidative stress status and platelet function in patients with sepsis and septic shock compared to healthy controls.
Methods and Results: Patients with sepsis or septic shock admitted to the hospital Policlinico Umberto I (Sapienza University, Rome) underwent a blood sample collection within 1 hour from admission. Platelet aggregation, serum thromboxane B2 (TxB2), soluble NOX2-derived peptides (sNox2-dp), and hydrogen peroxide breakdown activity (HBA) were measured and compared to those of healthy volunteers. Overall, 33 patients were enrolled; of these, 20 (60.6%) had sepsis and 13 (39.4%) septic shock. Compared to healthy controls (n = 10, age 67.8 ± 3.2, male 50%), patients with sepsis and septic shock had higher platelet aggregation (49% (IQR 45-55), 60% (55.75-67.25), and 73% (IQR 69-80), respectively, p < 0.001), higher serum TxB2 (77.5 (56.5-86.25), 122.5 (114-131.5), and 210 (195-230) pmol/L, respectively, p < 0.001), higher sNox2-dp (10 (7.75-12), 19.5 (17.25-21), and 33 (29.5-39) pg/mL, respectively, p < 0.001), and lower HBA (75% (67.25-81.5), 50% (45-54.75), and 27% (21.5-32.5), respectively, p < 0.001). Although not statistically significant, a trend in higher levels of serum TxB2 and sNox2-dp in patients who died was observed.
Conclusions: Patients with septic shock exhibit higher Nox2 activity and platelet activation than patients with sepsis. These insights joined to better knowledge of these mechanisms could guide the identification of future prognostic biomarkers and new therapeutic strategies in the scenario of septic shock.