Insulin resistance postburn: Underlying mechanisms and current therapeutic strategies

Gerd G. Gauglitz, David N. Herndon, Marc G. Jeschke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The profound hypermetabolic response to burn injury is associated with insulin resistance and hyperglycemia, significantly contributing to the incidence of morbidity and mortality in this patient population. These responses are present in all trauma, surgical, or critically ill patients, but the severity, length, and magnitude is unique for burn patients. Although advances in therapeutic strategies to attenuate the postburn hypermetabolic response have significantly improved the clinical outcome of these patients during the past years, therapeutic approaches to overcome stress-induced hyperglycemia have remained challenging. Intensive insulin therapy has been shown to significantly reduce morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. High incidence of hypoglycemic events and difficult blood glucose titrations have led to investigation of alternative strategies, including the use of metformin, a biguanide, or fenofibrate, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-γ agonist. Nevertheless, weaknesses and potential side affects of these drugs reinforces the need for better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying insulin resistance postburn that may lead to novel therapeutic strategies further improving the prognosis of these patients. This review aims to discuss the mechanisms underlying insulin resistance induced hyperglycemia postburn and outlines current therapeutic strategies that are being used to modulate hyperglycemia after thermal trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-694
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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