Xanthine oxidoreductase gene polymorphisms are associated with high risk of sepsis and organ failure

Li Gao, Nicholas Rafaels, Tanda M. Dudenkov, Mahendra Damarla, Rachel Damico, James P. Maloney, Marc Moss, Greg S. Martin, Jonathan Sevransky, Carl Shanholtz, Dan L. Herr, Joe G.N. Garcia, Tamara Hernandez-Beeftink, Jesús Villar, Carlos Flores, Terri H. Beaty, Roy Brower, Paul M. Hassoun, Kathleen C. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Sepsis and associated organ failures confer substantial morbidity and mortality. Xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR) is implicated in the development of tissue oxidative damage in a wide variety of respiratory and cardiovascular disorders including sepsis and sepsis-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). We examined whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the XDH gene (encoding XOR) might influence susceptibility to and outcome in patients with sepsis. Methods: We genotyped 28 tag SNPs in XDH gene in the CELEG cohort, including 621 European American (EA) and 353 African American (AA) sepsis patients. Serum XOR activity was measured in a subset of CELEG subjects. Additionally, we assessed the functional effects of XDH variants utilizing empirical data from different integrated software tools and datasets. Results: Among AA patients, six intronic variants (rs206805, rs513311, rs185925, rs561525, rs2163059, rs13387204), in a region enriched with regulatory elements, were associated with risk of sepsis (P < 0.008–0.049). Two out of six SNPs (rs561525 and rs2163059) were associated with risk of sepsis-associated ARDS in an independent validation cohort (GEN-SEP) of 590 sepsis patients of European descent. Two common SNPs (rs1884725 and rs4952085) in tight linkage disequilibrium (LD) provided strong evidence for association with increased levels of serum creatinine (Padjusted<0.0005 and 0.0006, respectively), suggesting a role in increased risk of renal dysfunction. In contrast, among EA ARDS patients, the missense variant rs17011368 (I703V) was associated with enhanced mortality at 60-days (P < 0.038). We found higher serum XOR activity in 143 sepsis patients (54.5 ± 57.1 mU/mL) compared to 31 controls (20.9 ± 12.4 mU/mL, P = 1.96 × 10− 13). XOR activity was associated with the lead variant rs185925 among AA sepsis patients with ARDS (P < 0.005 and Padjusted <0.01). Multifaceted functions of prioritized XDH variants, as suggested by various functional annotation tools, support their potential causality in sepsis. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that XOR is a novel combined genetic and biochemical marker for risk and outcome in patients with sepsis and ARDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number177
JournalRespiratory Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Biomarker
  • Haplotype
  • Sepsis
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism
  • Xanthine oxidoreductase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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