Protein kinetics in human endotoxaemia and their temporal relation to metabolic, endocrine and proinflammatory cytokine responses

A. S.A. Khan, J. M. Gibson, G. L. Carlson, O. Rooyackers, J. P. New, M. Soop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background : Sepsis is associated with profound alterations in protein metabolism. The unpredictable time course of sepsis and the multiplicity of confounding factors prevent studies of temporal relations between the onset of endocrine and proinflammatory cytokine responses and the onset of protein catabolism. This study aimed to determine the time course of whole-body protein catabolism, and relate it to the endocrine, metabolic and cytokine responses in a human endotoxaemia model of early sepsis. Methods Six healthy male volunteers were studied twice in random order, before and for 600 min after administration of either an intravenous bolus of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or sterile saline. Whole-body protein synthesis, breakdown and net protein breakdown were measured by amino acid tracer infusion, and related to changes in plasma levels of growth hormone, glucagon, cortisol, insulin-like growth factor (IGF) 1, tumour necrosis factor (TNF) α and interleukin (IL) 6. Results Protein synthesis, breakdown and net protein breakdown increased and peaked 120 min after LPS administration (P < 0·001), the alterations persisting for up to 480 min. These peaks coincided with peaks in plasma growth hormone, TNF-α and IL-6 concentrations (P = 0·049, P < 0·001 and P < 0·001 for LPS versus saline), whereas plasma cortisol concentration peaked later. No alterations in plasma insulin or glucagon concentrations, or in the IGF axis were observed during the period of abnormalities of protein metabolism. Conclusion LPS administration induced an early protein catabolic response in young men and this coincided with changes in plasma growth hormone, TNF-α and IL-6 concentrations, rather than changes in cortisol, glucagon, insulin or the IGF axis. Surgical relevance Sepsis in surgical patients is common and remains associated with substantial mortality. Although sepsis is a heterogeneous condition and its pathophysiology therefore difficult to study, a universal and profound clinical problem is protein catabolism not responsive to nutritional support. Human experimental endotoxaemia is a promising model of clinical sepsis that can be used to elucidate underlying pathophysiology and explore novel therapeutic approaches. This study demonstrates that human experimental endotoxaemia replicates the changes in whole-body protein turnover seen in clinical sepsis. Frequent measurements allowed identification of tumour necrosis factor (TNF) α, interleukin (IL) 6 and growth hormone as putative mediators. Human experimental endotoxaemia is a valid model for further study of mechanisms and putative therapies of catabolism associated with sepsis. In particular, effects of TNF-α and IL-6 blockade should be evaluated. Interleukin 6 and tumour necrosis factor α potential treatment targets

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-775
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Surgery
Volume102
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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