Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The pathophysiology of hypothermia during sepsis is unclear. Using genomic profiling of blood leukocytes, we aimed to determine if hypothermia is associated with a different gene expression profile compared to fever during sepsis. Patients with sepsis and either hypothermia or fever within 24 hours after ICU admission were included in the study (n = 168). Hypothermia was defined as body temperature below 36 °C. Fever was defined as body temperature equal to or above 38.3°C. We compared blood gene expression (whole-genome transcriptome in leukocytes) in hypothermic septic compared to febrile septic patients in an unmatched analysis and matched for APACHE IV score and the presence of shock. In total, 67 septic patients were hypothermic and 101 patients were febrile. Hypothermia was associated with a distinct gene expression profile in both unmatched and matched analyses. There were significant differences related to the up- and downregulation of canonical signalling pathways. In the matched analysis, the top upregulated gene was cold-inducible mRNA binding protein (CIRBP) which plays a role in cold-induced suppression of cell proliferation. In addition, we found three signalling pathways significantly upregulated in hypothermic patients compared to febrile patients; tryptophan degradation X, phenylalanine degradation IV and putrescine degradation III. In conclusion, there are distinct signalling pathways and genes associated with hypothermia, including tryptophan degradation and CIRBP expression, providing a possible link to the modulation of body temperature and early immunosuppression. Future studies may focus on the canonical signalling pathways presented in this paper to further investigate spontaneous hypothermia in sepsis.

Original publication





Journal of cellular and molecular medicine

Publication Date





1896 - 1904


Department of Intensive Care, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, location Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


MARS consortium, Humans, Sepsis, Fever, Hypothermia, Tryptophan, RNA-Binding Proteins, Transcriptome