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Organ Systems Respond Uniquely to Fight Sepsis

September 14, 2023
by Osman Moneer

Discoveries and Impact September 2023

Millions of patients die each year from critical illnesses that involve sepsis, which is a condition that disrupts the normal balance of body systems due to an infection and is associated with high inflammation. Researchers have previously sought to utilize metabolic and nutritional approaches to better treat sepsis, but few systemic approaches have shown utility in clinical trials, likely largely due to limited understanding of the coordination of the metabolic response to sepsis from tissue to tissue.

For the first time, a team of researchers at Yale have uncovered information explaining the role of tissue-specific glutamine metabolism in the body’s response to sepsis. This study, led by Brooks Leitner, PhD, and supervised by Rachel Perry, PhD, used a triad of high-throughput biological omics techniques (transcriptomics, metabolomics, and fluxomics) to investigate this question.

Specifically, the team applied skeletal muscle transcriptomics to critically ill patients as well as metabolomics in a pre-clinical polymicrobial sepsis model. They found that different body tissues responded uniquely to sepsis instead to support the liver’s ability to increase the incorporation of the amino acid glutamine into synthesis of the antioxidant glutathione to protect the body from the damage induced by sepsis.

To learn more, read the article: “Tissue-specific reprogramming of glutamine metabolism maintains tolerance to sepsis.”

Leitner BP, Lee WD, Zhu W, et al. Tissue-specific reprogramming of glutamine metabolism maintains tolerance to sepsis. PLoS One. 2023;18(7):e0286525. Published 2023 Jul 6. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0286525

Submitted by Julie Parry on September 14, 2023