Novel Blood Biomarker for SIDS Identified Interview with:
Chris Adamopoulos MD 
Angelo Livolsi MD
Unit of Cardiopediatrics,
Hautepierre University Hospital
Strasbourg, France What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Apparent life-threatening events (ALTEs) predominantly affect children younger than one year. Fifty percent of these events remain unexplained, which causes great concern to parents and physicians. Yet, there is no easily detectable biomarker associated with these potentially serious, unexplained events.

In our previous research we found a very high expression of muscarinic (parasympathetic) receptors in cardiac tissues of infants who died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In the present study we investigated the expression of the same muscarinic receptors in the peripheral blood of infants who experienced explained and unexplained life-threatening events at the highest end of severity.

Our results showed that the infants who experienced unexplained severe events had strikingly higher receptor’s levels (20 to 50 times higher) than the infants with severe events of known cause. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Muscarinic receptors’ expression emerges as a novel biomarker for unexplained severe life-threatening events in infants, which is easily detectable in the peripheral blood.

This observation also suggest that unexplained severe events in infants may have a different mechanistic pathway than the severe events of known etiology.

Although the connection between the apparent life-threatening events (ALTEs) in infants and the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) remains controversial, the present data, together with our previous findings of cardiac muscarinic receptors in SIDS, may suggest that parasympathetic overactivity could be a common vulnerability for both syndromes. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further research is needed to assess the potential of this novel, easily detectable, circulating marker and evaluate the clinical implications relevant to understanding mechanisms and, possibly, prevention. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Adamopoulos C, Greney H, Beutelstetter M, Bousquet P, Livolsi A. Expression of Circulating Muscarinic Receptors in Infants With Severe Idiopathic Life-Threatening Events. JAMA Pediatr. Published online May 09, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.4762.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on May 11, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD