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Crit Care Med. 1998 Mar;26(3):452-60.

Decreased corticosteroid-binding globulin in burn patients: relationship with interleukin-6 and fat in nutritional support.

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  • 1Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Centre des Grands Brûlés, PQ, Canada.



To analyze the effect of low-fat nutritional solutions, with or without fish oil, on serum interleukin (IL)-6, and to explore the relationships between IL-6, corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG; the main cortisol carrier in plasma), and protein metabolism in severely burned adult patients.


Randomized, double-blind study with control and low fat-fed groups.


Burn center of Hôtel-Dieu Hospital of Montréal.


Thirty-seven men and women with thermal burn injury over >20% of body surface area and no other known medical condition.


Within 24 hrs after admission, nutritional support was started through a gastroenteral tube inserted under endoscopic guidance. The goal for energy intake was calculated using the Curreri formula, and was adjusted with biweekly measurements of resting energy expenditure. Patients were randomly assigned to one of the following groups: control (35% of energy as fat); low fat 1 (15% of energy as fat); and low fat 2 (50% of fat in the form of fish oil).


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and TNF-beta, IL-6, CBG, and cortisol free fraction were measured every 3 days for 28 days. Nitrogen balance and urinary 3-methylhistidine excretion were measured daily. IL-6 concentrations were high in all patients, with the highest value (460 +/- 111 units/mL) observed on day 4. Concentrations of IL-6 were higher in control patients than in low fat-fed patients between days 13 and 28, but not between days 1 and 13. Multivariate analysis showed that IL-6, total body surface area burned, and sepsis scores were independent predictors of CBG between days 1 and 13 (n = 170; p<.00001). High IL-6 concentrations were predictors of low CBG concentrations and high cortisol free fractions. There was no relationship between IL-6, nitrogen balance, and 3-methylhistidine excretion. TNF-alpha and TNF-beta activity measurements by biological assay showed no correlation with other factors measured.


a) Low-fat feeding, with or without fish oil, does not change the early production of IL-6 after burn injury; b) serum IL-6 is negatively correlated with CBG, which supports the hypothesis that this cytokine inhibits hepatic CBG production; and c) IL-6 does not appear to directly influence protein metabolism in burn patients.

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