A High Level of Soluble CD40L Is Associated with P. aeruginosa Infection in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis

Citation: Bustamante AE, Jaime-Pérez JC, Cordero-Pérez P, Galindo-Rodríguez G, Muñoz-Espinosa LE, Villarreal-Villarreal CD, et al. (2016) A High Level of Soluble CD40L Is Associated with P. aeruginosa Infection in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis. PLoS ONE 11(12): e0168819. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0168819
Published: December 28, 2016

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the concentration of sCD40L, a product of platelet activation, correlates with the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the airway of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) and to determine its possible clinical association.
Methods: Sixty patients with CF, ranging in age from 2 months to 36 years, were studied. The demographics, cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) genotype, spirometry measurements, radiographic and tomographic scans, platelet count in peripheral blood, sCD40L, IL-6, TNF-α and ICAM1 data were collected. Infection-colonization of the airway was evaluated using sputum and throat swab cultures; the levels of anti-Pseudomonas aeruginosa antibodies (Anti-PaAb) were evaluated.
Results: Patients with CF and chronic colonization had anti-PaAb values of 11.6 ± 2.1 ELISA units (EU) and sCD40L in plasma of 1530.9 ±1162.3 pg/mL; those with intermittent infection had 5.7 ± 2.7 EU and 2243.6 ± 1475.9 pg/mL; and those who were never infected had 3.46 ± 1.8 EU (p≤0.001) and 1008.1 ± 746.8 pg/mL (p≤0.01), respectively. The cutoff value of sCD40L of 1255 pg/mL was associated with an area under the ROC (receiver operating characteristic curve) of 0.84 (95% CI, 0.71 to 0.97), reflecting P. aeruginosa infection with a sensitivity of 73% and a specificity of 89%. Lung damage was determined using the Brasfield Score, the Bhalla Score, and spirometry (FVC%, FEV1%) and found to be significantly different among the groups (p≤0.001).
Conclusion: Circulating sCD40L levels are increased in patients with cystic fibrosis and P. aeruginosa infection. Soluble CD40L appears to reflect infection and provides a tool for monitoring the evolution of lung deterioration.


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