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  • Author: Wilma Zimmer x
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Remarkably elevated levels of phospholipase A2 (PLA2) are measurable in human blood samples in cases of acute pancreatitis. The source of the enzyme was first thought to be exclusively the pancreas, but now it is generally accepted that two isoenzymes – the pancreatic PLA2, group I, and the extrapancreatic PLA2, group II – contribute to the raised activity. In contrast to the group II-PLA2, the pancreatic PLA2 is heat-resistant for 1 hour at 60 °C. The catalytically inactive proenzyme of the pancreatic PLA2 can be activated by trypsin. The aim of our study was to evaluate the diagnostic value of PLA2 isoenzyme activity measurements to identify patients with severe complications in acute pancreatitis. Blood samples from patients suffering from acute pancreatitis were analyzed for catalytically active pancreatic PLA2 on day 1 and 2 of hospitalization with a modified radiometric Escherichia coli-based PLA2 assay. In 10 of 41 patients clearly elevated values of catalytically active, heat-resistant pancreatic PLA2 (7.2 to 81.2 U/l) were observed. This group of patients was characterized by severe complications (necrotizing pancreatitis, shock, sepsis, respiratory problems) of which two patients subsequently died. Patients with low or undetectable activity (<7 U/l) of pancreatic PLA2 recovered rapidly. According to these results the presence of catalytically active pancreatic PLA2 in serum is associated with severe complications of acute pancreatitis. In contrast to total serum-PLA2, the catalytic concentration of pancreatic PLA2 can serve as a prognostic marker in acute pancreatitis.


Hyperhomocysteinemia is a risk factor for obstructive large-vessel disease. Here, we studied plasma concentrations of homocysteine and vitamins in patients suffering from subcortical vascular encephalopathy (SVE), a cerebral small-vessel disease leading to dementia. These results were compared to the homocysteine and vitamin plasma concentrations from patients with cerebral large vessel disease and healthy control subjects.

Plasma concentrations of homocysteine, vascular risk factors and vitamin status (B6, B12, folate) were determined in 82 patients with subcortical vascular encephalopathy, in 144 patients with cerebral large-vessel disease and in 102 control subjects. Patients with SVE, but not those with cerebral large-vessel disease, exhibited pathologically increased homocysteine concentrations in comparison with control subjects without cerebrovascular disease. Patients with SVE also showed lower vitamin B6 values in comparison to subjects without cerebrovascular disease. Logistic regression analysis showed that homocysteine is associated with the highest risk for SVE (odds ratio 5.7; CI 2.5–12.9) in comparison to other vascular risk factors such as hypertension, age and smoking.

These observations indicate that hyperhomocysteinemia is a strong independent risk factor for SVE.


The S-100B protein is released by injured astrocytes. After passage through a disintegrated blood-brain barrier (BBB) the molecule can be detected in the peripheral circulation. We investigated the association between the extent of brain injury and S-100B concentration in serum in cerebral injury caused by cerebral ischemia and cerebral fungal infection.

Study I: The S-100B serum concentration was serially determined in 24 patients with ischemic stroke at 4, 8, 10, 24, 72 hours after the onset of symptoms. We observed that patients with brain lesions larger than 5 cm3 exhibited significantly increased serum levels of S-100B at 10, 24 and 72 hours compared to those with lesion volumes below 5 cm3. Furthermore, an association between S-100B serum concentration and neurological outcome was observed.

Study II: In a mouse model of systemic fungal infection with Candida albicans we observed that serum levels of S-100B increased at day 1 after intravenous infection. At this time we could histologically demonstrate brain tissue injury by invading hyphae which had crossed the BBB. Furthermore, reactive astrogliosis was demonstrated by immunohistochemistry. On day 7 we found a significant decrease of S-100B serum level compared to day 1 and 4. This was associated with a demarcation of the fungi with leukocytes in brain tissue at this late phase of infection. No further invasion through the BBB was seen on day 7.

In conclusion, serum levels of S-100B reflect the time course of tissue injury in cerebral ischemia and cerebral infection to a similar extent. Thus, S-100B may be a useful marker to assess cerebral tissue injury.