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Surgery. 1988 Aug;104(2):280-6.

Tumor necrosis factor and endotoxin induce similar metabolic responses in human beings.

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Laboratory for Surgical Metabolism and Nutrition, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115.


After injury, infection, or major operations a number of predictable metabolic responses occur. It has been proposed that the cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF)/cachectin is a primary mediator of these host responses. To test this hypothesis, we studied 16 tumor-bearing humans with normal renal and hepatic function, who received 24-hour continuous intravenous infusions of escalating doses of recombinant TNF (4 to 636/micrograms/m2/24 h). Serial measurements were made of vital signs and plasma concentrations of TNF, interleukin-1, adrenocorticotropic hormone, cortisol, iron, glucose, and C-reactive protein. Low doses of TNF had minimal metabolic effects, but infusions of greater than or equal to 545 micrograms/m2/24 hr (n = 8) resulted in fever, pituitary, and stress hormone release and acute phase changes. These alterations were compared with the changes that occurred in healthy humans (n = 13) receiving intravenous bolus injections of Escherichia coli endotoxin (4 ng/kg). TNF infusion in doses greater than or equal to 545 micrograms/m2/24 hr produced peak plasma TNF concentrations and metabolic responses that were similar to those after endotoxin injection. Interleukin-1 concentrations remained basal after TNF or endotoxin administration. TNF may represent the primary afferent signal that initiates many of the metabolic responses associated with sepsis and endotoxemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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