Pediatric burn victims' recovery, diabetes, metabolism aided by fenofibrate (Tricor)

San Diego (April 3, 2005) One of the immediate serious results of sudden extreme trauma or stress, including burns and even surgery, is insulin resistance, or diabetes. As a result, healing is delayed, especially in the case of severe burns, and since the body is unable to fully use blood sugar for energy, muscle tissue is broken down as the body scavenges for other possible energy sources.

However, children with severe flame burns of more than 40% body surface area showed "significantly improved whole body glucose uptake -- almost to normal levels -- after a two-week course of treatment with fenofibrate," according to lead researcher, Melanie Green Cree at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. (The UTMB trauma center last week treated about 20 adult victims, including several with burns from the British Petroleum refinery after an explosion that killed at least 15 workers and injured dozens more.)

Cree said trauma in children "seems to cause problems with fat metabolism, which in turn may cause insulin resistance. This insulin resistance can be ameliorated with 10-14 days of fenofibrate treatment, and it may significantly improve morbidity outcomes, healing rates, and decrease time spent in the intensive care unit."

Going into the experiment, "we felt that the fat metabolism in the children may be deranged by their burns," Cree said. "We hoped that improving fat metabolism with fenofibrate, which is traditionally used to lower plasma triglycerides, would improve the insulin sensitivity. There is conflicting data about the relationship between glucose and fat metabolism. However, acute burn trauma seriously affects both glucose and fat metabolism, and our results show that by increasing cell mitochondrial fat metabolism with fenofibrate (marketed as Tricor by Abbott Laboratories), glucose metabolism can also be improved," Cree reported.

*Paper presentation: "Fenofibrate improves glucose metabolism in pediatric burns pat


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