Chronic hyperdynamic sepsis in the rat II. Characterization of liver and muscle energy metabolism

L. Mela-Riker, D. Bartos, A. A. Vlessis, L. Widener, P. Muller, D. D. Trunkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Sepsis was induced in male rats by injections of live Escherichia coli No. 4 (or E. coli No. 3) and Bacteroides fragilis organisms into a preformed subcutaneous abscess. Body weight, food and water intake, and cardiac output were measured daily. After 1, 2, or 3 weeks, animals were sacrificed, and blood, liver, and muscle were collected for measurements of plasma glucose and carnitine, mitochondrial respiratory activity, mitochondrial cytochrome concentrations, and tissue adenine nucleotides. Compared with sham controls, no significant differences were found in state 3 respiratory activities of liver mitochondria isolated from rats with moderate (no weight loss, cardiac output increased to 150% of control) or severe (0.5% weight loss/day, cardiac output increased to 200% of control) sepsis at any time. After 1 week of severe, but not moderate, sepsis, pyruvate-supported respiration in muscle mitochondria was significantly decreased, while branched-chain ketoacid and β-hydroxybutyrate-supported respiration remained unchanged. After 2 weeks of severe, but not moderate, sepsis, β-hydroxybutyrate and branched-chain ketoacid oxidation increased severalfold; pyruvate utilization remained depressed. Severe or moderate sepsis did not uncouple mitochondrial respiration at any time. Total muscle carnitine concentration was significantly decreased after long-term but not short-term severe sepsis. Severe short-term sepsis caused a significant increase in liver short-chain acyl and total carnitines. Muscle energy charge was unaltered by either moderate or severe sepsis. These results represent the first demonstration of sepsis-induced fuel shifts at the mitochondrial level in muscle: Severe hyperdynamic sepsis is characterized by the reduced ability of muscle mitochondria to utilize pyruvate with a simultaneous increase in branched- chain ketoacid and ketone body utilization. These changes were not observed in liver mitochondria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
JournalCirculatory Shock
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992


  • ketoacid
  • ketone body
  • mitochondrial function
  • pyruvate
  • subcutaneous abscess

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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