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Toxicology. 2003 Jul 15;189(1-2):75-88.

Free radicals and lipid peroxidation mediated injury in burn trauma: the role of antioxidant therapy.

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Department of Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390-9160, USA.


Burn trauma produces significant fluid shifts that, in turn, reduce cardiac output and tissue perfusion. Treatment approaches to major burn injury include administration of crystalloid solutions to correct hypovolemia and to restore peripheral perfusion. While this aggressive postburn volume replacement increases oxygen delivery to previously ischemic tissue, this restoration of oxygen delivery is thought to initiate a series of deleterious events that exacerbate ischemia-related tissue injury. While persistent hypoperfusion after burn trauma would produce cell death, volume resuscitation may exacerbate the tissue injury that occurred during low flow state. It is clear that after burn trauma, tissue adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels gradually fall, and increased adenosine monophosphate (AMP) is converted to hypoxanthine, providing substrate for xanthine oxidase. These complicated reactions produce hydrogen peroxide and superoxide, clearly recognized deleterious free radicals. In addition to xanthine oxidase related free radical generation in burn trauma, adherent-activated neutrophils produce additional free radicals. Enhanced free radical production is paralleled by impaired antioxidant mechanisms; as indicated by burn-related decreases in superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione, alpha tocopherol, and ascorbic acid levels. Burn related upregulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) may produce peripheral vasodilatation, upregulate the transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB), and promote transcription and translation of numerous inflammatory cytokines. NO may also interact with the superoxide radical to yield peroxynitrite, a highly reactive mediator of tissue injury. Free radical mediated cell injury has been supported by postburn increases in systemic and tissue levels of lipid peroxidation products such as conjugated dienes, thiobarbituric acid reaction products, or malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. Antioxidant therapy in burn therapy (ascorbic acid, glutathione, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, or vitamins A, E, and C alone or in combination) have been shown to reduce burn and burn/sepsis mediated mortality, to attenuate changes in cellular energetics, to protect microvascular circulation, reduce tissue lipid peroxidation, improve cardiac output, and to reduce the volume of required fluid resuscitation. Antioxidant vitamin therapy with fluid resuscitation has also been shown to prevent burn related cardiac NF-kappaB nuclear migration, to inhibit cardiomyocyte secretion of TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-6, and to improve cardiac contractile function. These data collectively support the hypothesis that cellular oxidative stress is a critical step in burn-mediated injury, and suggest that antioxidant strategies designed to either inhibit free radical formation or to scavage free radicals may provide organ protection in patients with burn injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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