Effect of insulin on the inflammatory and acute phase response after burn injury
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After a severe burn, the liver plays a pivotal role by modulating inflammatory processes, metabolic pathways, immune functions, and the acute phase response. Therefore, liver integrity and function are important for recovery. A thermal injury, however, causes hepatic damage by inducing hepatic edema, fatty infiltration, hepatocyte apoptosis, and metabolic derangements associated with insulin resistance and impaired insulin signaling. In preliminary studies, we found that these pathophysiological processes are related to hepatic inflammation, altered intracellular signaling, and mitochondrial dysfunction. We hypothesize that modulation of these processes with insulin could improve hepatic structure and function and, therefore, outcome of burned and critically ill patients. Insulin administration improves survival and decreases the rate of infections in severely burned and critically ill patients. Here, we show that insulin administration decreases the synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines and signal transcription factors and improves hepatic structure and function after a severe burn injury; insulin also restores hepatic homeostasis and improves hepatic dysfunction postburn via alterations in the signaling cascade.
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