High-mobility group box-1 (HMGB-1) has been associated with fibrotic diseases. However, the role of HMGB-1 in silicosis is still uncertain. In this study, we conducted a case-control study involving 74 patients with silicosis and 107 age/gender-matched healthy controls in China. An Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to examine the concentrations of plasma HMGB-1 among all subjects. A logistic regression model and receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis were performed to assess the relationships between HMGB-1 and silicosis. We observed that plasma HMGB-1 concentrations were significantly increased in silicosis patients when compared with healthy controls (p
< 0.05). Each 1 ng/mL increase in plasma HMGB-1 was positively associated with increased odds of silicosis, and the odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval) was 1.86 (1.52, 2.27). Additionally, compared with subjects with lower HMGB-1 concentrations, increased odds of silicosis were observed in those with higher HMGB-1 concentrations, and the OR was 15.33 (6.70, 35.10). Nonlinear models including a natural cubic spline function of continuous HMGB-1 yielded similar results. In ROC analyses, we found that plasma HMGB-1 >7.419 ng/mL had 81.6% sensitivity and 80.4% specificity for silicosis, and the area under the curve (AUC) was 0.84. Our results demonstrated that elevated plasma HMGB-1 was positivity associated with increased OR of silicosis.
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