Heparin-binding protein: A key player in the pathophysiology of organ dysfunction in sepsis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Infectious diseases remain a major health problem, and sepsis and other severe infectious diseases are common causes of morbidity and mortality. There is a need for clinical and laboratory tools to identify patients with severe infections early and to distinguish between bacterial and nonbacterial conditions. Heparin-binding protein (HBP), also known as azurocidin or cationic antimicrobial protein of 37 KDa, is a promising biomarker to distinguish between patients with these conditions. It is biologically plausible that HBP is an early and predictive biomarker because it is prefabricated and rapidly mobilized from migrating neutrophils in response to bacterial infections. HBP induces vascular leakage and oedema formation and has a pro-inflammatory effect on a variety of white blood cells and epithelial cells. The dysregulation of vascular barrier function and cellular inflammatory responses can then lead to organ dysfunction. Indeed, it has been shown that patients with sepsis express elevated levels of HBP in plasma several hours before they develop hypotension or organ dysfunction. HBP has a major role in the pathophysiology of severe bacterial infections and thus represents a potential diagnostic marker and a target for the treatment of sepsis.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine


  • Biomarkers, Heparin-binding protein (HBP), Sepsis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-574
JournalJournal of Internal Medicine
Issue number6
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch