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J Clin Invest. 1990 Jun;85(6):1896-904.

The acute splanchnic and peripheral tissue metabolic response to endotoxin in humans.

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Department of Surgery, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, New York 10021.


The in vivo alterations in organ-specific substrate processing and endogenous mediator production induced by endotoxin were investigated in healthy volunteers. An endotoxin bolus (20 U/kg) produced increased energy expenditure, hyperglycemia, hypoaminoacidemia, and an increase in circulating free fatty acids. These changes included increased peripheral lactate and free fatty acid output, along with increased peripheral uptake of glucose. Coordinately, there were increased splanchnic uptake of oxygen, lactate, amino acids, and free fatty acids, and increased splanchnic glucose output. There were no changes in circulating glucagon, or insulin and transient changes in epinephrine and cortisol were insufficient to explain the metabolic changes. Plasma cachectin levels peaked 90 min after the endotoxin infusion, and hepatic venous (HV) cachectin levels (peak 250 +/- 50 pg/ml) were consistently higher than arterial levels (peak 130 +/- 30 pg/ml, P less than 0.05 vs. HV). No interleukin 1 alpha or 1 beta was detected in the circulation. Circulating interleukin 6, measured by B.9 hybridoma proliferation, peaked 2 h after the endotoxin challenge (arterial, 16 +/- 2 U/ml; HV, 21 +/- 3 U/ml). The net cachectin efflux (approximately 7 micrograms) from the splanchnic organs demonstrates that these tissues are a major site for production of this cytokine. Hence, splanchnic tissues are likely influenced in a paracrine fashion by regional cachectin production and may also serve as a significant source for systemic appearance of this cytokine.

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