Arch Hellen Med, 23(2), March-April 2006, 173-177
Chitotriosidase in neonates with systemic fungal and common microbial infections
I. LABADARIDIS,1 E. DIMITRIOU,2 M. THEODORAKIS,1 A. VELEGRAKIS,3 G. KAFALIDIS,1 H. MICHELAKAKIS2
OBJECTIVE To investigate the behavior of chitotriosidase, a human chitinolytic enzyme produced mainly by activated macrophages, in neonates with fungal and common microbial infections.
METHOD Chitotriosidase activity was assayed in serial plasma and urine samples from 8 neonates with fungal infections (7/8 Candida albicans, 1/8 Aspergillus niger). At least 4 samples were investigated per neonate at one week intervals. Chitotriosidase activity was also determined in plasma and urine samples from 15 neonates on diagnosis of Gram-positive and Gram-negative infections.
RESULTS Increased chitotriosidase activity was found in plasma and/or urine in 7/8 neonates with fungal infections, ranging from 1.25-9 and 1.9-150 times the upper normal limits in plasma and urine respectively. Improvement of the clinical condition was associated with decline in chitotriosidase activity and vice versa. Increased activity, 1.9-12.5 and 1.5-40 times the upper normal limits in plasma and urine respectively, was also found in 13/15 neonates with bacterial infections.
CONCLUSIONS Éncreased activity of chitotriosidase is observed not only in fungal but also in microbial infections. As a result chitotriosidase activity cannot be used as a specific marker for fungal infections. However serial assays of the enzyme could be of value in monitoring the outcome of treatment of neonates with fungal infection.
Key words: Bacterial infections, Chitotriosidase, Fungal infections, Neonates.