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J Trauma. 1990 Jul;30(7):830-2; discussion 832-3.

Short-term hyperglycemia depresses immunity through nonenzymatic glycosylation of circulating immunoglobulin.

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Department of Surgery, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston.


Hyperglycemia accompanies a myriad of clinical conditions and causes an acceleration in the nonenzymatic glycosylation (NEG) of proteins. Since many proteins lose function when glycosylated, we assessed the effect of hyperglycemia on the function of immunoglobulin G. Twenty newborn Sprague-Dawley rats underwent splenectomy and 20, splenic mobilization alone. After 3 weeks, all animals received an intraperitoneal injection of Streptococcus pneumoniae. Twelve hours later, ten animals from each group received either control (CIG) or glycosylated (GIG) human immunoglobulin (0.3 gm/kg) intraperitoneally. Asplenic animals receiving GIG lived 28.5 hours vs. 49.6 hours for those receiving CIG (p less than 0.0001). Animals with spleens receiving GIG lived 48.2 hours vs. 51.7 hours for those receiving CIG (p = 0.03). Short-term glycosylation of immunoglobulin causes its inactivation. This may contribute to the increased risk of infection noted in hyperglycemic animals.

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