Alcohol Potentiates Postburn Remote Organ Damage Through Shifts in Fluid Compartments Mediated by Bradykinin

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Of the 450,000 burn patients each year, 50% have a positive blood alcohol content, and this predisposes them to worsened clinical outcomes. Despite high prevalence and established consequences, the mechanisms responsible for alcohol-mediated complications of postburn remote organ damage are currently unknown. To this end, mice received a single dose of alcohol (1.12 g/kg) or water by oral gavage and were subjected to a 15% total body surface area burn. Animals with a burn alone lost ∼5% of their body weight in 24 h, whereas intoxicated and burned mice lost only 1% body weight (P < 0.05) despite a 17% increase in hematocrit (P < 0.05) and a 57% increase in serum creatinine (P < 0.05) over burn injury alone. This retention of water weight despite increased dehydration suggests that intoxication at the time of a burn causes a shift in fluid compartments that may exacerbate end-organ ischemia and damage as evidenced by a 3-fold increase in intestinal bacterial translocation (P < 0.05), a 30% increase (P < 0.05) in liver weight–to–body weight ratio, and an increase in alveolar wall thickness over a burn alone. Furthermore, administration of the bradykinin antagonist HOE140 30 min after intoxication and burn restored fluid balance and alleviated end-organ damage. These findings suggest that alcohol potentiates postburn remote organ damage through shifts in fluid compartments mediated by bradykinin.

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