Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Nathan Hammer

Relational Format



Causing at least 215,000 deaths in the U.S. annually- more than prostate cancer, breast cancer, and AIDS combined- and rising, sepsis is one of the most deadly medical conditions in America. Sepsis pathophysiology, however, is still incompletely understood, making it difficult for physicians to diagnosis and treat effectively. Given the time-sensitivity of treatment, researchers are now searching for new methods to identify sepsis early, developing more accurate prognostic markers, and developing new target therapeutic candidates. One biological component of interest in this research is the platelet-derived microparticle (PMP), a heterogeneous vesicle derived from the cell membrane of platelets found circulating in blood plasma. In theory, as platelets are destroyed in sepsis, PMP levels in plasma could increase and thus play an important physiological role in the cascading deregulation of the clotting mechanism characteristic of sepsis. Furthermore, because of these possible roles in sepsis, PMP concentration presents a parameter of possible prognostic value. Data collected and analyzed to date in the context of this thesis (79 of 182 sepsis patients), a correlation between PMP level and sepsis severity was observed, but in an opposite manner than expected. Rather than increasing with sepsis severity, PMP levels actually seem to decrease as the disease progresses. Additionally, PMP levels strongly parallel platelet count. These observations suggest these two markers (platelet count and PMPs) might be two different measures of the same underlying physiologic process. However, definite conclusions cannot be made until analysis of the remaining patients enrolled in this study has been completed.

Included in

Chemistry Commons



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