Most investigators have reported high levels of endothelin (ET)-1 in patients with thermal injury. We attempted to examine the hypothesis that ET-1 levels increase in patients with severe burn injury.
Patients and Methods
Plasma from 28 adult subjects, 14 of whom had thermal injuries with a median (range) percentage of total burn surface area of 22% (20%-76%), was assessed for ET-1 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) α. Samples from closely age-matched patients were obtained on admission (day 1) and 24 hours postinjury (day 2). Samples were obtained before blood transfusion or surgical treatment occurred. Enzyme immunoassay techniques suitable for the measurements of the cytokines were used.
Median (range) of TNF-α was higher in patients (day 1, 10.0 ng/L [1.2-35.0 ng/L]; day 2, 12.0 ng/L [0.4-39.0 ng/L]) than controls (0.8 ng/L [0.3-3.2 ng/L]) (P<.005) while ET-1 levels remained significantly unchanged in patients (mean [SD], day 1, 183.0 [42.2] ng/L; day 2, 204.7 [41.7] ng/L) compared with controls (170.0 [59.8] ng/L) (P>.05).
We observed no significantly raised levels of ET-1 in patients with thermal injury within 24 hours after burn injury. We found no significant correlation between the plasma levels of TNF-α and ET-1. Endothelin-1 levels did not seem to reflect severity of illness. The actual evaluation of ET-1 release in patients with thermal injury could enhance the pathophysiological study of human thermal injury.