The Role of Mitochondrial Stress in Muscle Wasting Following Severe Burn Trauma

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Increased resting metabolic rate (hypermetabolism) and skeletal muscle wasting are hallmarks of the pathophysiological stress response to severe burn trauma. However, whether these two responses occur independently in burn patients or are in fact related remains unclear. In light of recent evidence demonstrating that increased proteolysis in skeletal muscle of burned patients is accompanied by mitochondrial hypermetabolism, oxidative stress, and protein damage; in this article, we discuss the evidence for a role for the mitochondrion in skeletal muscle wasting following severe burn trauma. In particular, we focus on the role of mitochondrial superoxide production in oxidative stress and subsequent proteolysis, and discuss the role of the mitochondrion as a signaling organelle resulting in protein catabolism in other cellular compartments following severe burn trauma.

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