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HOME > Acute Crit Care > Volume 25(1); 2010 > Article
Review Mechanisms of Muscle Wasting in Patients with Sepsis
Gi Dong Lee, Ho Cheol Kim

1Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Korea.
2Gyeongsang Institute of Health Sciences, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Korea.
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Muscle wasting is commonly seen in patients with sepsis as a consequence of the catabolic response in skeletal muscle. Muscle wasting can occur in cases that have an imbalance between degradation and synthesis of muscle proteins. Although decrements in the synthesis of muscle proteins may contribute to sepsis-induced muscle wasting, it has been recognized that increments in its degradation play a more essential role in muscle wasting. Muscle wasting in sepsis patients has some significant clinical consequences such as reduced ambulation and exercise tolerance, and an increased risk for pulmonary and thromboembolic complications. Several mechanisms have been proposed for sepsis-induced muscle wasting. Increased proteolysis via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and the calpains system is one of the principal mechanisms of muscle wasting induced by sepsis. Calpains are activated by calcium, which increases in patients with sepsis. The activation of the calpains system disrupts the sarcomere of the myofibrils, resulting in the release of myofilaments that are subsequently ubiquitinated and degraded by the 26S proteasome complex. Recent studies have suggested that transcriptional factors such as NF-kappaB and FoxO, and the apoptosis and autophagy-lysosome pathways may also be involved in sepsis-induced muscle wasting. This review briefly summarizes the contribution of these mechanisms of muscle wasting in patients with sepsis and the possible therapeutic agents to treat it.

ACC : Acute and Critical Care