Objective: Higher circulating levels of tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMP)-1 at the time of severe sepsis diagnosis have been reported in nonsurviving than in surviving patients. However, the following questions remain unanswered: 1) Does TIMP-1/MMP-9 ratio differ throughout the first week of intensive care between surviving and nonsurviving patients? 2) Is there an association between TIMP-1/MMP-9 ratio and sepsis severity and mortality during such period? 3) Could TIMP-1/MMP-9 ratio during the first week be used as an early biomarker of sepsis outcome? 4) Is there an association between TIMP-1/MMP-9 ratio and coagulation state and circulating cytokine levels during the first week of intensive care in these patients? The present study sought to answer these questions.
Methods: Multicenter, observational and prospective study carried out in six Spanish Intensive Care Units (ICUs) of 295 patients with severe sepsis. Were measured circulating levels of TIMP-1, MMP-9, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-10 and plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 at day 1, 4 and 8. End-point was 30-day mortality.
Results: We found higher TIMP-1/MMP-9 ratio during the first week in non-surviving (n = 98) than in surviving patients (n = 197) (p<0.01). Logistic regression analyses showed that TIMP-1/MMP-9 ratio at days 1, 4 and 8 was associated with mortality. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves showed that TIMP-1/MMP-9 ratio at days 1, 4 and 8 could predict mortality. There was an association between TIMP-1/MMP-9 ratio and TNF-alpha, IL-10, PAI-1 and lactic acid levels, SOFA score and platelet count at days 1, 4 and 8.
Conclusions: The novel findings of our study were that non-surviving septic patients showed persistently higher TIMP-1/MMP-9 ratio than survivors ones during the first week, which was associated with severity, coagulation state, circulating cytokine levels and mortality; thus representing a new biomarker of sepsis outcome.