Association of Hyperferritinemia with Distinct Host Response Aberrations in Patients with Community-Acquired Pneumonia

Xanthe Brands, Tjitske S. R. van Engelen, Floris M. C. de Vries, Bastiaan W. Haak, Augustijn M. Klarenbeek, Maadrika M. N. P. Kanglie, Inge A. H. van den Berk, Alex R. Schuurman, Hessel Peters-Sengers, Natasja A. Otto, Daniël R. Faber, Rene Lutter, Brendon P. Scicluna, Jaap Stoker, Jan M. Prins, W. Joost Wiersinga, Tom van der Poll

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Background: Strongly elevated ferritin levels have been proposed to reflect systemic hyperinflammation in patients admitted to the intensive care unit. Knowledge of the incidence and pathophysiological implications of hyperferritinemia in patients with acute infection admitted to a non-intensive care setting is limited. Methods: We determined the association between hyperferritinemia, defined by 2 cutoff values (500 and 250 ng/mL), and aberrations in key host response mechanisms among patients with community-Acquired pneumonia (CAP) on admission to a general hospital ward ( NCT02928367; NTR6163). Results: Plasma ferritin levels were higher in patients with CAP (n=174; median [interquartile ranges], 259.5 [123.1-518.3] ng/mL) than in age-and sex-matched controls without infection (n=50; 102.8 [53.5-185.7] ng/mL); P<.001); they were ≥500 ng/mL in 46 patients (26%) and ≥250 ng/mL in 90 (52%). Measurements of 26 biomarkers reflective of distinct pathophysiological domains showed that hyperferritinemia was associated with enhanced systemic inflammation, neutrophil activation, cytokine release, endothelial cell activation and dysfunction, and activation of the coagulation system. Results were robust across different cutoff values. Conclusions: Hyperferritinemia identifies patients with CAP with a broad deregulation of various host response mechanisms implicated in the pathogenesis of sepsis. This could inform future therapeutic strategies targeting subgroups within the CAP population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2023-2032
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of infectious diseases
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • biomarker
  • community-Acquired pneumonia
  • ferritin
  • host response
  • immune suppression
  • sepsis
  • systemic inflammation

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