Impact of Hydrocortisone Administration on White Blood Cell Gene Expression in Patients With Severe Sepsis

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00185783
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 16, 2005
Last Update Posted : April 11, 2011
University of Toronto
University of Colorado, Denver
Information provided by:
Stanford University

September 12, 2005
September 16, 2005
April 11, 2011
March 2005
November 2006   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
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Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00185783 on Archive Site
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Impact of Hydrocortisone Administration on White Blood Cell Gene Expression in Patients With Severe Sepsis
Pilot Study of White Blood Cell Gene Expression in Critically Ill Patients With Severe Sepsis and Relative Adrenal Insufficiency After Hydrocortisone Administration
The purpose of this pilot study is to (1) examine the changes in gene expression in patients who suffer from severe sepsis and whose shock (inadequate oxygen delivery to vital organs) state does not respond to fluid and vasopressor administration, (2) to show that our sampling method of isolating RNA provides reliable and consistent data, (3) provide a basis for future gene expression studies in critically ill patients

Severe sepsis is characterized by inadequate perfusion of vital organs due to infection. More than 750,000 cases of severe sepsis occur each year in the United States. Mortality among patients with severe sepsis ranges from 7% to 50%. Initiation of antibiotic therapy within the first hour of diagnosis as well as fluid resuscitation and hemodynamic stabilization are primary goals of therapy.

Steroid administration has been shown to improve outcome in the subset of severe sepsis patients suffering from relative adrenal insufficiency. Although initial studies using high dose short course steroid therapy did not demonstrate efficacy, more recent studies of low dose longer duration hydrocortisone administration demonstrated a significant reduction in mortality at 28 days. The mechanism by which steroid administration affords protection is unclear. We hypothesize that steroid administration changes white blood cell gene and protein expression in severe sepsis patients from an immuno-inflammatory profile to a pattern consistent with healing.

Our first specific aim is to obtain plasma and total cellular RNA from leukocytes in the blood of ten patients admitted to Stanford Medical Center with the diagnosis of severe sepsis and adrenal insufficiency. Significant and distinct variations in whole blood leukocyte gene expression patterns occur depending upon the method of RNA isolation. We will attempt to demonstrate that our sampling method provides reliable and consistent data.

Our second specific aim is to begin an analysis of gene expression patterns in white blood cells before and after steroid administration in patients suffering from severe sepsis with relative adrenal insufficiency. We will use a protocol for assessment of gene expression that was developed by members of our research team.

Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Prospective
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Non-Probability Sample
Patients admitted to the Stanford Hospital ICU with Sepsis.
  • Sepsis
  • Relative Adrenal Insufficiency
Drug: Hydrocortisone Administration (Standard of Care Therapy)
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*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
Same as current
November 2006
November 2006   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Admission Diagnosis of Sepsis
  • Evidence of Relative Adrenal Insufficiency
  • Hypotension (Mean Arterial Pressure less than 60 mm Hg) Refractory to a. Fluid Resuscitation b. Dopamine infusion (greater than 5 micrograms/kg/min) c. Phenylephrine infusion (greater than 1 microgram/kg/min)

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Use of Immunosuppressant Medications
  • Immune Compromised Due to Disease (e.g., HIV infection)
  • Transfusion of Blood Products within the past 7 Days
  • Use of Cytokine Therapy (i.e., G-CSF)
  • History of Bone Marrow Transplantation
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
United States
Stanford IRB Number 4593
Other Grant ( Other Grant/Funding Number: Stanford University Department of Anesthesia )
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Andrew J. Patterson, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University
Stanford University
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Colorado, Denver
Principal Investigator: Andrew J Patterson, M.D., Ph.D. Stanford University, Dept. of Anesthesia, Division of Critical Care Medicine
Principal Investigator: Ann Weinacker, M.D., Stanford University, Dept. of Medicine, Div. of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Stanford University
April 2011