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Sepsis is a severe medical condition and a leading cause of hospital mortality. Prompt diagnosis and early treatment has a significant, positive impact on patient outcome. However, sepsis is not always easy to diagnose, especially in critically ill patients. Here, we present a conceptionally new approach for the rapid diagnostic differentiation of sepsis from non-septic intensive care unit patients. Using advanced microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, we measure infection-specific changes in the activity of nano-sized cell-derived microvesicles to bind bacteria. We report on the use of a point-of-care-compatible microfluidic chip to measure microvesicle-bacteria aggregation and demonstrate rapid (≤1.5 hour) and reliable diagnostic differentiation of bacterial infection from non-infectious inflammation in a double-blind pilot study. Our study demonstrates the potential of microvesicle activities for sepsis diagnosis and introduces microvesicle-bacteria aggregation as a potentially useful parameter for making early clinical management decisions.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





13511 - 13520


Animals, Bacteria, Cell Aggregation, Cell-Derived Microparticles, Diagnosis, Differential, Disease Models, Animal, Humans, Microfluidic Analytical Techniques, Neutrophils, Rats, Sepsis, Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome