Cytokines are protein mediators secreted by leukocytes. They are responsible in large measure for orchestrating the host response against infection. In addition to their role as immune modulators, several observations have been made that implicate the cytokines as mediators of the metabolic alterations during bacterial sepsis. The purpose of this paper is to review existing information on the potential role cytokines have in regulating carbohydrate metabolism. Sepsis generally results in an increased production of glucose by the liver and an enhanced utilization of this fuel by many tissues in the body. Cytokines like tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-1 have been demonstrated to directly stimulate glucose uptake and catabolism in several cell types. In addition, cytokines alter the secretion of glucoregulatory hormones in a manner that is similar to the changes seen in animals or humans compromised with infection. While not definitive, these findings indicate that the cytokines produced during an infection likely play an important role in regulating glucose homeostasis during infection. Because cytokines are important to host defense against delivery, understanding the interaction between cytokine production and the regulation of glucose metabolism will advance our knowledge of the host response to infections.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics