, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 1340-1344

Glucose utilisation in the lungs of septic rats

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Sequestration and degranulation of leucocytes in the pulmonary microcirculation is considered to be a key event in the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome in patients with sepsis. Glucose serves as the main source of energy in activated leucocytes. The aim of this study was to assess whether glucose utilisation in the lungs can be used as an indicator of pulmonary leucocyte accumulation in an experimental model of sepsis of intra-abdominal origin. Sepsis was induced in rats by abdominal implantation of a gelatine capsule containing bacteria and rat colonic contents. Empty gelatine capsules were implanted in control animals. Animals were studied 6 and 12 h after sepsis induction. Glucose utilisation was measured as the tissue uptake of fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose (18FDG) 1 h after intravenous injection of the tracer. Micro-autoradiography was also performed after injection of tritiated deoxyglucose. We found increased uptake of 18FDG in the lungs of septic animals. The uptake also increased with time after sepsis induction. 18FDG uptake in circulating leucocytes was increased in septic animals compared with controls, and micro-autoradiography showed intense accumulation of deoxyglucose in leucocytes in the lungs of septic animals. We conclude that glucose utilisation is increased in the lungs of septic rats. Measurements of pulmonary glucose utilisation as an index of leucocyte metabolic activity may open new possibilities for studies of the pathophysiology of sepsis and for evaluation of therapeutic interventions.

Received 15 February and in revised form 28 April 1999