Infectious Disease

Plasma osteopontin can provide a “reliable biomarker” to predict the severity of COVID-19 and MIS-C

October 13, 2021

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The study was supported in part by the Elaine and John C. Carlos Fund of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Reisner does not disclose any other relevant financial information. Please refer to the study for all relevant financial information from the other authors.

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Plasma osteopontin levels are significantly higher in children hospitalized with moderate to severe COVID-19 and MIS-C than in those with mild or asymptomatic cases, suggesting a potential biomarker of disease severity, they said Researcher.

“There are currently no reliable biomarkers for COVID-19 or the multisystem inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C”, Andrew Reisner, MD, from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine, said Healio Rheumatology. “A biomarker like glucose levels or A1C in a diabetic can help us predict the severity of a disease. Determining whether someone has moderate or severe form of COVID-19 helps us inform the patient of what to expect as their illness progresses. Accordingly, we would know how to treat them more precisely. “

Plasma osteopontin levels are significantly higher in children hospitalized with moderate to severe COVID-19 and MIS-C than in those with mild or asymptomatic cases, suggesting a potential biomarker of disease severity, according to researchers.

To investigate plasma osteopontin as a potential biomarker for the severity of COVID-19 and MIS-C in children, Reisner and colleagues performed a retrospective analysis of children and young adults between March 17th, 2020. The analysis included 26 patients aged 0-21 years. The researchers divided patients into one of three categories based on the severity of COVID-19: asymptomatic to minimally symptomatic, mild to moderate, and severe. Patients who were asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic were made the control group.

In addition, the researchers established a fourth category for patients who met the CDC definition for MIS-C. They analyzed residual blood samples for osteopontin with commercial ELISA kits, and the results correlated with clinical data.

According to researchers who published their results in Experimental Biology and Medicine, plasma osteopontin levels differed significantly between groups (P <.05). Osteopontin was “significantly increased” in patients with moderate or severe COVID-19 and MIS-C with a median of 430.32 ng / ml and 598.11 ng / ml, respectively, compared to patients in the mild or asymptomatic group.

In addition, osteopontin differentiated between the severity levels of COVID-19, while other markers of inflammation – including maximum erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein and ferritin, minimum lymphocyte and platelet counts, soluble interleukin-2R, and interleukin-6 – did not.

“The management of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection would be made easier with a reliable biomarker that is biologically stable, easily accessible and can be measured quickly and inexpensively at the point-of-care,” said Reisner. “Osteopontin, a matricellular protein with diverse physiological and pathological functions in a large number of inflammatory and immune processes, has these properties.”

“This study shows that osteopontin in the plasma of hospitalized children with SARS-CoV-2 infection and MIS-C is significantly upregulated compared to light or asymptomatic children,” he added. “In addition, the osteopontin levels correlate with the clinical severity of COVID-19, also with statistical significance. These new data suggest that osteopontin is a putative biomarker to guide risk stratification, prognosis, and clinical management of children with COVID-19 and MIS-C. The clinical benefit of osteopontin as a COVID-19 biomarker needs to be validated in larger studies. “

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