Laura Brabenec

Effects of the sepsis biomarker procalcitonin on endothelial cell and neutrophil-endothelial cell interactions

Procalcitonin (PCT) is a frequently analyzed biomarker for the detection of bacterial sepsis in
which its serum level is significantly elevated and correlates with disease severity and mortality. Sepsis leads to loss of vascular barrier integrity due to dysfunction of endothelial cell tight junctions and uncontrolled neutrophil extravasation, leading to edema formation, compromised microcirculation and organ damage. Vascular barrier dysfunction is thus considered key in the progression from sepsis to multi organ failure and high mortality rates of septic patients. Despite its wide use in the clinic, a specific role of procalcitonin in sepsis pathophysiology has not been identified until recently, when my group uncovered that PCT can destabilize endothelial junctions. My project focuses on the identification of the underlying mechanisms of procalcitonins action on endothelial cell-cell interaction and vascular barrier integrity as well as on the effects of PCT in neutrophil extravasation and neutrophil-endothelial cell interaction during sepsis.