Adult patients are more catabolic than children during acute phase after burn injury: A retrospective analysis on muscle protein kinetics

Demidmaa Tuvdendorj, David L. Chinkes, Xiao Jun Zhang, Arny A. Ferrando, Itoro E. Elijah, Ronald P. Mlcak, Celeste Finnerty, Robert R. Wolfe, David Herndon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study was performed to determine if there is an age-related specificity in the response of muscle protein metabolism to severe burn injury during acute hospitalization. This is a retrospective analysis of previously published data. Methods: Nineteen adult and 58 pediatric burn-injured patients (age 43.3 ± 14.3 vs. 7.2 ± 5.3 years, adult vs. children) participated in stable isotope [ring- 2H 5]phenylalanine (Phe) infusion studies. Femoral arterial and venous blood samples and muscle biopsy samples were collected throughout the study. Data are presented as means ± standard deviation (SD). A p value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Muscle net protein balance (NB) was higher in children (adult vs. children, -43 ± 61 vs. 8 ± 68 nmol Phe/min/100 ml leg volume, p < 0.05). Muscle protein fractional synthesis rate (FSR) was higher in children (adult vs. children, 0.11 ± 0.05 vs. 0.16 ± 0.10 %/h, p < 0.05). Leg muscle protein breakdown was not different between the groups (adult vs. children, 179 ± 115 vs. 184 ± 124 nmol Phe/min/100 ml leg volume, p > 0.05); synthesis rate was 134 ± 96 and 192 ± 128 nmol Phe/min/100 ml leg volume in adults and children, respectively (p = 0.07). Age significantly correlated with muscle protein NB (p = 0.01) and FSR (p = 0.02); but not with breakdown (p = 0.67) and synthesis (p = 0.07) rates measured by using a three-pool model. Conclusion: In burn injury, the muscle protein breakdown may be affected to the same extent in adults and children, whereas synthesis may have age-related specificities, resulting in a better but still low NB in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1317-1322
Number of pages6
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011



  • Age
  • Burn
  • Muscle protein metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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