Acute propranolol infusion stimulates protein synthesis in rabbit skin wound

Xiao Jun Zhang, Chengyue Meng, David L. Chinkes, Celeste C. Finnerty, Asle Aarsland, Marc G. Jeschke, David N. Herndon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Propranolol administration has been demonstrated to improve cardiac work, decrease energy expenditure, and attenuate lipolysis in burned patients; however, its effect on wound healing has not been reported. Methods: In rabbits, a partial-thickness skin donor site wound was created on the back, and catheters were placed in the carotid artery and jugular vein. A nasogastric feeding tube was placed for enteral feeding. On day 5 after injury, stable isotope tracers were infused to determine protein and DNA kinetics in the wound. Propranolol hydrochloride was injected in 1 group during the tracer infusion to decrease heart rate, and the other group without propranolol injection served as a control. Results: The propranolol infusion decreased heart rate by 21%. The protein fractional synthetic rate in the wound was greater in the propranolol group (8.6 ± 0.9 vs 6.1 ± 0.5%/day, P < .05). Wound protein fractional breakdown rates were not significantly different. The rate of protein deposition (synthesis - breakdown) was increased in the propranolol group (5.0 ± 1.2 vs 2.8 ± 0.7%/day, P = .07). Wound DNA fractional synthetic rates were comparable. The protein fractional synthetic rate was correlated with percent decrease in heart rate, but expression of the β-adrenergic receptors and downstream signaling cascades in local wounds were not affected after propranolol treatment. Conclusion: Propranolol infusion increased wound protein synthetic rate and tended to increase wound protein deposition rate, which might be beneficial to wound healing. These changes might reflect a systemic response to the β-adrenergic blockade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-567
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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