Insulin therapy improves protein metabolism in the critically ill
1 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Sunnybrook Hospital, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Room D704, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4N 3M5
2 Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Critical Care 2012, 16:125 doi:10.1186/cc11313Published: 14 May 2012
Critical illness, trauma and burns are associated with profound metabolic abnormalities, of which protein catabolism, hyperglycemia and insulin resistance are hallmarks of these conditions. Increased protein breakdown and loss results in muscle wasting, weakness and diminished functioning. Interestingly, hyperglycemia and insulin resistance augment catabolic responses. Insulin, which is routinely administered to critically ill patients to prevent excessive hyperglycemia, also stimulates protein synthesis and prevents whole-body protein loss. The present commentary highlights the results of a recent study published in Critical Care and discusses whether moderate insulin therapy is equally as beneficial as conventional insulin therapy in preventing protein catabolism and loss.