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Rationale: The plasma lipidome has the potential to reflect many facets of the host status during severe infection. Previous work is limited to specific lipid groups or was focused on lipids as prognosticators.Objectives: To map the plasma lipidome during sepsis due to community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and determine the disease specificity and associations with clinical features.Methods: We analyzed 1,833 lipid species across 33 classes in 169 patients admitted to the ICU with sepsis due to CAP, 51 noninfected ICU patients, and 48 outpatient controls. In a paired analysis, we reanalyzed patients still in the ICU 4 days after admission (n = 82).Measurements and Main Results: A total of 58% of plasma lipids were significantly lower in patients with CAP-attributable sepsis compared with outpatient controls (6% higher, 36% not different). We found strong lipid class-specific associations with disease severity, validated across two external cohorts, and inflammatory biomarkers, in which triacylglycerols, cholesterol esters, and lysophospholipids exhibited the strongest associations. A total of 36% of lipids increased over time, and stratification by survival revealed diverging lipid recovery, which was confirmed in an external cohort; specifically, a 10% increase in cholesterol ester levels was related to a lower odds ratio (0.84; P = 0.006) for 30-day mortality (absolute mortality, 18 of 82). Comparison with noninfected ICU patients delineated a substantial common illness response (57.5%) and a distinct lipidomic signal for patients with CAP-attributable sepsis (37%).Conclusions: Patients with sepsis due to CAP exhibit a time-dependent and partially disease-specific shift in their plasma lipidome that correlates with disease severity and systemic inflammation and is associated with higher mortality.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Respir Crit Care Med

Publication Date





973 - 986


cholesterol, lipidomics, respiratory failure, sepsis, triglycerides, Humans, Lipidomics, Pneumonia, Community-Acquired Infections, Sepsis, Lipids, Severity of Illness Index, Intensive Care Units