Objective: We determined whether postburn hyperglycemia and insulin resistance are associated with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress/unfolded protein response (UPR) activation leading to impaired insulin receptor signaling. Background: Inflammation and cellular stress, hallmarks of severely burned and critically ill patients, have been causally linked to insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes via induction of ER stress and the UPR. Methods: Twenty severely burned pediatric patients were compared with 36 nonburned children. Clinical markers, protein, and GeneChip analysis were used to identify transcriptional changes in ER stress and UPR and insulin resistance-related signaling cascades in peripheral blood leukocytes, fat, and muscle at admission and up to 466 days postburn. Results: Burn-induced inflammatory and stress responses are accompanied by profound insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. Genomic and protein analysis revealed that burn injury was associated with alterations in the signaling pathways that affect insulin resistance, ER/sarcoplasmic reticulum stress, inflammation, and cell growth/apoptosis up to 466 days postburn. Conclusion: Burn-induced insulin resistance is associated with persistent ER/sarcoplasmic reticulum stress/UPR and subsequent suppressed insulin receptor signaling over a prolonged period of time.
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