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01.08.2010 | Research | Ausgabe 4/2010 Open Access

Critical Care 4/2010

Plasma concentrations of Gas6 (growth arrest specific protein 6) and its soluble tyrosine kinase receptor sAxl in sepsis and systemic inflammatory response syndromes

Critical Care > Ausgabe 4/2010
Carl Ekman, Adam Linder, Per Åkesson, Björn Dahlbäck
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​cc9233) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

CE performed the ELISAs, assisted in analysis of the data and wrote parts of the manuscript. AL participated in the design of the clinical study, included and followed patients, assisted in analysis of the data and wrote parts of the manuscript. PÅ participated in the design of the clinical study, included and followed patients and wrote parts of the manuscript. BD initiated the study, participated in the data analysis and wrote parts of the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.



Gas6, the protein product of the growth arrest specific gene 6, is present in human circulation at subnanomolar concentrations. It is secreted by endothelial cells and is important for the activation of endothelium during inflammation. Axl, the tyrosine kinase receptor for Gas6, is also present in endothelium and can be cleaved and released into the circulation. The soluble of form Axl (sAxl), which is present in plasma, can bind Gas6 and inhibit Axl-mediated cell signalling.


We have developed reproducible and accurate enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for both Gas6 and sAxl and used them to investigate plasma samples from 70 patients with severe sepsis, 99 patients with sepsis, 42 patients with various infections causing fever but no systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), 20 patients with SIRS without verified infection, and 100 blood donors that served as controls. Correlations between Gas6 and sAxl concentrations and other commonly used analytes were investigated.


The patients with severe sepsis, sepsis, infection or SIRS had all increased concentrations of Gas6, approximately double compared to what was found in the controls. The concentrations of sAxl were also increased in the patient groups compared to the controls. Gas6 correlated with C-reactive protein, procalcitonin and interleukin 6, whereas sAxl correlated to bilirubin and procalcitonin.


We can confirm results of earlier studies showing that circulating Gas6 is increased in sepsis and related syndromes. sAxl is increased, but less pronounced than Gas6. The concentrations of Gas6 and sAxl correlate with a number of inflammatory markers, suggesting a role in systemic inflammation.
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