Proteasome Inhibition After Burn Injury

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The objective of this study was to assess the effects of proteasome inhibition on the development of burn-induced hypermetabolism. Rats underwent 30–40% total BSA scald burn or sham injury. The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (0.1 mg/kg) or vehicle (n = 10) was administered i.p. 3× weekly starting at 2 hours (early bortezomib, n = 20) or 48 hours (late-bortezomib, n = 13) postburn. Body weights were determined weekly. Resting energy expenditures (REE) were measured at days 0 (baseline), 7, 14, 21, and 42 postburn. At day 42, blood and pectoral muscle were harvested. Routine blood chemistry parameters were analyzed. Proteasome content, proteasome peptidase activities, and ubiquitin–protein conjugates were measured in muscle extracts. As compared with sham-vehicle-treated animals, specific proteasome activities were increased after burn and vehicle treatment. Bortezomib treatment inhibited proteasome activities and increased ubiquitin–protein conjugates after sham and burn injury. Bortezomib treatment did not affect REE after sham procedure. REE significantly increased by 47% within 7 days and remained elevated until day 42 after burn and vehicle treatment. After early-bortezomib treatment, burn-induced increases in REE were delayed and significantly reduced by 42% at day 42, as compared with vehicle treatment. With late-bortezomib treatment, burn-induced increases in REE were also delayed but not attenuated at day 42. Mortality was 20% with vehicle, 65% (median survival time: 1.875 days) with early-bortezomib and 25% with late-bortezomib treatment after burns (P < .05 early-bortezomib vs vehicle and late-bortezomib). Proteasome inhibition delays development of burn-induced hypermetabolism. Although proteasome inhibition early after burn injury reduces the hypermetabolic response, it significantly increases early burn-associated mortality.

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