Introduction: The mortality associated with severe acute pancreatitis is still high, and death in the later stage of the disease is chiefly due to bacterial infection and sepsis. However, objective parameters for the risk of sepsis in acute pancreatitis have not been established. Aim: To investigate the value of human leukocyte antigen-DR (HLA-DR) on peripheral monocytes for predicting the development of sepsis during acute pancreatitis. Methodology: The expression of HLA-DR on peripheral monocytes was measured in 64 patients by flow cytometry at admission and 7 and 14 days after the onset of acute pancreatitis. Twenty-eight patients with severe acute pancreatitis and 36 with mild acute pancreatitis, as determined by the Atlanta classification, were enrolled. Results: Six patients had sepsis, and two of them died during the hospital stay. At admission, the percentage of HLA-DR-expressing cells in the monocyte population was significantly lower in the patients who had sepsis in the later course than in the patients who did not have sepsis. A percentage lower than 80% at admission was observed in 17 patients, and the patients who had persistently low percentages of HLA-DR-expressing monocytes throughout the observation period had sepsis in the later clinical course, whereas the patients in whom expression recovered to the normal range were spared the development of sepsis. Conclusion: In acute pancreatitis, the low percentage of HLA-DR-expressing cells in the monocyte population is a reliable predictor of the development of sepsis. Monitoring of monocyte HLA-DR expression may be a useful marker for identifying the patients who are at high risk of sepsis in acute pancreatitis.
- Acute pancreatitis
- Flow cytometry