The Prognostic Value of Lung Injury and Fibrosis Markers, KL-6, TGF-β1, FGF-2 in COVID-19 Patients

Karadeniz H., Avanoğlu Güler A., Özger H. S. , Yıldız P., Erbaş G., Bozdayı G., ...More

Biomarker Insights, vol.17, 2022 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/11772719221135443
  • Journal Name: Biomarker Insights
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: biomarker, computed tomography, Coronavirus disease 2019, fibroblast growth factor-2, Krebs von den Lungen-6, transforming growth factor-beta1
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


© The Author(s) 2022.Background: Biomarkers of lung injury and interstitial fibrosis give insight about the extent of involvement and prognosis in well-known interstitial lung diseases (ILD). Serum Krebs von den Lungen-6 (KL-6) reflects direct alveolar injury and, transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-β1) and fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) are principal mediators of fibrosis in ILD and in almost all fibrotic diseases. In this sense, we aimed to assess associations of these biomarkers with traditional inflammatory markers and clinical course of COVID-19. Methods: Patients with COVID-19 who had confirmed diagnosis with SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid RT-PCR were enrolled and followed up prospectively with a standardized approach one month after diagnosis. Patients were divided into severe and non-severe groups according to National Institutes of Health criteria. Outcome was assessed for the requirement of intensive care unit (ICU) admission, long term respiratory support and death. Blood samples were collected at enrollment and serum levels of KL-6, TGF-β1, FGF-2 were determined by ELISA. Association between these markers with other prognostic markers and prognosis were analyzed. Results: Overall 31 severe and 28 non-severe COVID-19 patients were enrolled and were compared with healthy control subjects (n = 30). Serum KL-6 levels in COVID-19 patients were significantly higher (median [IQR]; 11.54 [4.86] vs 8.54 [3.98] ng/mL, P =.001] and FGF-2 levels were lower (median [IQR]; 76.84 [98.2] vs 101.62 [210.6] pg/mL) compared to healthy control group. A significant correlation was found between KL-6 values and CRP, fibrinogen, d-dimer and lymphocyte counts. However, we did not find an association between these markers and subsequent severity of COVID-19, mortality and long-term prognosis. Conclusions: Serum KL-6 levels were significantly elevated at the diagnosis of COVID-19 and correlated well with the other traditional prognostic inflammatory markers. Serum levels of principal fibrosis mediators, TGF-β1, FGF-2, were not elevated at diagnosis of COVID-19, therefore did not help to anticipate long term prognosis.