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Cardiovasc Res. 2006 Nov 1;72(2):220-30. Epub 2006 Jul 21.

Role of KATP channels in sepsis.

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British Heart Foundation Laboratories and Bloomsbury Institute for Intensive Care Medicine, UK.


Sepsis is an infection-induced inflammatory syndrome responsible for approximately 10% of all deaths worldwide. While pathophysiological mechanisms remain to be fully unravelled, new insights and discoveries are yielding significant improvements in outcome, particularly in the high mortality conditions of shock and multi-organ failure. One potential target is the ATP-sensitive potassium (K(ATP)) channel, an ion channel critical to the cardiovascular stress response. Excessive activation of the vascular channel is now recognised as a major cause of hypotension and vascular hyporesponsiveness to catecholamines in septic shock. Some researchers advocate therapeutic blockade of these channels; however, outside the vasculature, channel opening may actually represent a protective mechanism against cellular damage. In this review we critically examine the role of the K(ATP) channel in sepsis.

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