Serum S100β: A noninvasive marker of blood-brain barrier function and brain lesions

Andrew A. Kanner, Nicola Marchi, Vincent Fazio, Marc R. Mayberg, Michael T. Koltz, Vitaly Siomin, Glen H.J. Stevens, Thomas Masaryk, Barbara Ayumar, Michael A. Vogelbaum, Gene H. Barnett, Damir Janigro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND. S100β protein is expressed constitutively by brain astrocytes. Elevated S100β levels in cerebrospinal fluid and serum reported after head trauma, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and stroke were correlated with the extent of brain damage. Because elevated serum S100β also was shown to indicate blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction in the absence of apparent brain injury, it remains unclear whether elevation of serum levels of S100β reflect BBB dysfunction, parenchymal damage, or both. METHODS. The authors conducted a prospective study of serum S100β levels in six patients who underwent hyperosmotic BBB disruption (BBBD) with intraarterial chemotherapy for primary central nervous system lymphoma. In addition, 53 serum S100β samples were measured in 51 patients who had a variety of primary or metastatic brain lesions at the time of neuroimaging. RESULTS. S100β was correlated directly with the degree of clinical and radiologic signs of BBBD in patients who were enrolled in the hyperosmotic study. In patients with neoplastic brain lesions, gadolinium enhancement on a magnetic resonance image was correlated with elevated S100β levels (n = 45 patients; 0.16 ± 0.1 μg/L; mean ± standard error of the mean) versus nonenhancing scans (n = 8 patients; 0.069 ± 0.04 μg/L). Primary brain tumors (n = 8 patients; 0.12 ± 0.08) or central nervous system metastases also presented with elevated serum S100β levels (n = 27 patients; 0.14 ± 0.34). Tumor volume was correlated with serum S100β levels only in patients with vestibular schwannoma (n = 6 patients; 0.13 ± 0.10 μg/L) but not in patients with other brain lesions. CONCLUSIONS. S100β was correlated directly with the extent and temporal sequence of hyperosmotic BBBD, further suggesting that S100β is a marker of BBB function. Elevated S100β levels may indicate the presence of radiologically detectable BBB leakage. Larger prospective studies may better determine the true specificity of S100β as a marker for BBB function and as an early detection or follow-up marker of brain tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2806-2813
Number of pages8
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2003


  • Blood-brain barrier disruption
  • Brain damage
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Metastatic brain tumor


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